Association between age at menarche and gestational diabetes mellitus: the Australian longitudinal study on women's health



Publication Details

Schoenaker, D. A. J. M. & Mishra, G. D. (2017). Association between age at menarche and gestational diabetes mellitus the australian longitudinal study on women's health. American Journal of Epidemiology, 185 (7), 554-561.


In this study, we aimed to examine the association between age at menarche and gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Data were from 4,749 women participating in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health between 2000 and 2012. Age at menarche was reported at baseline in 2000 when women were aged 22-27 years. During 12 years of follow-up, information on GDM diagnosis was obtained for each live birth. Log-binomial regression analysis was used to estimate relative risks and 95% confidence intervals. Analyses adjusted for mother's highest completed educational qualification, nulliparity, polycystic ovary syndrome, physical activity, and body mass index. Mean age at menarche was 12.9 years (standard deviation, 1.4). A first diagnosis of GDM was reported by 357 women (7.5%). Compared with women with menarche at age 13 years, women who had their first menstruation at age ≤11 years had a 51% higher risk of developing GDM (95% confidence interval: 1.10, 2.07) after adjustment for GDM risk factors. Our findings indicate that a young age at menarche may identify women at higher risk of GDM. Further prospective studies are needed to confirm our findings and to elucidate the role of early-life exposures in age at menarche and subsequent GDM risk.

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