Date of Award

Fall 1-5-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Ike Okosun

Second Advisor

Hannah Jackson


Background: Diabetes is a growing chronic disease that affects more than 29 million adults in the United States and 422 million adults globally. Women with a history of gestational diabetes (GDM) are identified to be at higher risk for developing subsequent type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). The prevalence of GDM varies based on the data collection method, response rate, and diagnostic criteria. The aim of this study is to examine the association between history of GDM diagnosis and current T2DM status and how the relationship differs based on the participant’s age, race, and BMI.

Methods: Data from the 2011-2012 and 2013-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) were analyzed to conduct a cross-sectional study of 4,006 U.S. non-pregnant women ages 20 years and older with a history of prior pregnancy. The race/ethnicity of the participants include non-Hispanic Whites, non-Hispanic Blacks, Mexican Americans, non-Hispanic Asians, and "Other" variables. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to determine the association between history of GDM and current T2DM status stratified by age, race, and BMI.

Results: Three hundred and fifteen subjects from a sample size of 4006 were found to have a history of GDM. Of the 315 participants with GDM, 111 (35.2%) were found to develop T2DM. After controlling for age, race, and body mass index (BMI), women with a history of GDM were found to be at greater odds of T2DM (OR=4.71; 95% CI: 3.52-6.28) compared to women without a history of GDM. A multivariate analysis was performed adjusting for other covariates such as age, race, BMI, and cholesterol. When stratified by participant age, women between the ages of 20-44 years with a history of GDM were linked with an increased risk of T2DM (OR= 3.02; 95% CI: 1.88-4.85). Overweight and obese women with a history of GDM have a 2.5-fold risk of developing T2DM (OR=2.51; 95% CI: 1.49-4.23).

Discussion: This study provides further understanding and awareness on the role of GDM during the subsequent risk for T2DM. Our study shows women between the ages of 20 and 44 years and with elevated BMIs (25 ≥ kg/m2) are at increased risk of developing subsequent T2DM. Findings suggest the need for health promotion and prevention efforts towards the populations at risk. Early intervention post-pregnancy and education may help prevent women with a history of GDM from developing T2DM.