ILSI Southeast Asia Symposium: Prevalence, Risk Factors, and Actions to Address Gestational Diabetes in Selected Southeast Asian Countries

This article was published in the Eur J Clin Nutr. doi: 10.1038/s41430-020-00838-6.

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is increasing, particularly in Southeast Asia. This paper presents findings from a symposium organized by the International Life Sciences Institute Southeast Asia (ILSI SEA) which discussed the growing issue of gestational diabetes and how it can be addressed in the region. GDM together with diabetes in pregnancy (DIP) both fall under the definition of hyperglycemia in pregnancy. GDM is defined as diabetes diagnosed for the first time during pregnancy mostly after 24 weeks gestation. DIP is defined as pregnant women having higher oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) results. Table 1 shows the WHO criteria that distinguish GDM and DIP. Women with hyperglycemia in pregnancy have a higher risk of developing diabetes over 15 years after the index pregnancy. It was estimated that 75–90% of cases of hyperglycemia in pregnancy are GDM. Although data are lacking, GDM prevalence is thought to parallel the rising incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus in the background population. Table 2 shows the 2019 prevalence of diabetes and undiagnosed diabetes in Southeast Asian countries.

The objectives of this ILSI SEA symposium were to:
(i) assess the prevalence of GDM in selected countries (Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam) and identify nutritional and other risk factors;
(ii) identify country actions to address GDM and challenges in implementing these actions;
(iii) recommend measures to prevent/reduce the prevalence of GDM in Southeast Asia

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