In many countries, obesity and diabetes affect women disproportionately. Gestational diabetes in particular has detrimental consequences for both mother and child, increasing the frequency of perinatal morbidity and mortality. In addition, maternal obesity and diabetes have been linked to increased susceptibility for the child to develop diabetes during their youth, creating a vicious circle.
Diabetes also affects other health conditions; because it impairs immunity; for example, diabetes has been associated with tuberculosis. The relationship among diabetes, maternal and newborn morbidity and tuberculosis may have a negative impact on the achievement of the related Millennium Development Goals in many countries of the Region. Furthermore, low birth weight is associated with an increased risk for type 2 diabetes during adulthood. This may exacerbate the diabetes epidemic in low and middle income countries that are still struggling with a high frequency of low birth weight.