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Black Women Born Underweight More Likely to Develop Diabetes

Update Date: Aug 22, 2014 11:15 PM EDT

Black women who were born at low or very low birth weight are significantly more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, according to a new study.

Researchers from Boston University said that the findings could explain the higher rates of low birth weight among African Americans.

The latest study involved more than 21,000 women participating in the Black Women's Health Study.

After analyzing 16 years worth of data, researchers found that women born with low birth weight and very low birth weight were 13 percent and 40 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those born healthy.

Researchers noted that the latest study is the first large-scale study to show that African Americans with low birth weights are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared to people of other ethnicities.

"African American women are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and also have higher rates of low birth weight than white women," lead researcher Edward Ruiz-Narváez, ScD, assistant professor of epidemiology at Boston University School of Public Health, said in a news release. "Our study shows a clear relationship between birth weight and diabetes that highlights the importance of further research for this at-risk group."

The findings are published in the journal Diabetes Care.

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