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An individual’s birthweight, a marker of in utero exposures, was recently associated with certain psychiatric conditions. However, studies investigating the relationship between an individual’s preterm birth status and/or birthweight and risk for depression during adulthood are sparse; we used data from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) to investigate these potential associations. At study entry, 86,925 postmenopausal women reported their birthweight by category (<6 lbs., 6–7 lbs. 15 oz., 8–9 lbs. 15 oz., or ≥10 lbs.) and their preterm birth status (full-term or ≥4 weeks premature). Women also completed the Burnham screen for depression and were asked to self-report if: (a) they had ever been diagnosed with depression, or (b) if they were taking antidepressant medications. Linear and logistic regression models were used to estimate unadjusted and adjusted effect estimates. Compared to those born weighing between 6 and 7 lbs. 15 oz., individuals born weighing <6 lbs. (βadj = 0.007, P < 0.0001) and ≥10 lbs. (βadj = 0.006, P = 0.02) had significantly higher Burnam scores. Individuals born weighing <6 lbs. were also more likely to have depression (adjOR 1.21, 95% CI 1.11–1.31). Individuals born preterm were also more likely to have depression (adjOR 1.18, 95% CI 1.02–1.35); while attenuated, this association remained in analyses limited to only those reportedly born weighing <6 lbs. Our research supports the role of early life exposures on health risks across the life course. Individuals born at low or high birthweights and those born preterm may benefit from early evaluation and long-term follow-up for the prevention and treatment of mental health outcomes.
Emerging evidence suggests that preterm-born individuals (<37 weeks gestation) are at increased risk of developing chronic health conditions in adulthood. This study compared the prevalence, co-occurrence, and cumulative prevalence of three female predominant chronic health conditions – hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis [RA], and hypothyroidism – alone and concurrently. Of 82,514 U.S. women aged 50–79 years enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative, 2,303 self-reported being born preterm. Logistic regression was used to analyze the prevalence of each condition at enrollment with birth status (preterm, full term). Multinomial logistic regression models analyzed the association between birth status and each condition alone and concurrently. Outcome variables using the 3 conditions were created to give 8 categories ranging from no disease, each condition alone, two-way combinations, to having all three conditions. The models adjusted for age, race/ethnicity, and sociodemographic, lifestyle, and other health-related risk factors. Women born preterm were significantly more likely to have any one or a combination of the selected conditions. In fully adjusted models for individual conditions, the adjusted odds ratios (aORs) were 1.14 (95% CI, 1.04, 1.26) for hypertension, 1.28 (1.12, 1.47) for RA, and 1.12 (1.01, 1.24) for hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism and RA were the strongest coexisting conditions [aOR 1.69, 95% CI (1.14, 2.51)], followed by hypertension and RA [aOR 1.48, 95% CI (1.20, 1.82)]. The aOR for all three conditions was 1.69 (1.22, 2.35). Perinatal history is pertinent across the life course. Preventive measures and early identification of risk factors and disease in preterm-born individuals are essential to mitigating adverse health outcomes in adulthood.
Preterm birth has been associated with insulin resistance and beta-cell dysfunction, a hallmark characteristic of type 2 diabetes. However, studies investigating the relationship between a personal history of being born preterm and type 2 diabetes are sparse. We sought to investigate the potential association between a personal history of being born preterm and risk for type 2 diabetes in a racially and ethnically diverse population. Baseline and incident data (>16 years of follow-up) from the Women’s Health Initiative (n = 85,356) were used to examine the association between personal history of being born preterm (born 1910–1940s) and prevalent (baseline enrollment; cross-sectional) or incident (prospective cohort) cases of type 2 diabetes. Logistic and Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to estimate odds and hazards ratios. Being born preterm was significantly, positively associated with odds for prevalent type 2 diabetes at enrollment (adjOR = 1.79, 95% CI 1.43–2.24; P < 0.0001). Stratified regression models suggested the positive associations at baseline were consistent across race and ethnicity groups. However, being born preterm was not significantly associated with risk for incident type 2 diabetes. Regression models stratified by age at enrollment suggest the relationship between being born preterm and type 2 diabetes persists only among younger age groups. Preterm birth was associated with higher risk of type 2 diabetes but only in those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes prior to study enrollment, suggesting the association between preterm birth and type 2 diabetes may exist at earlier age of diagnosis but wane over time.