A team led by Dr. Michael Davies of the Research Center in Reproductive Health at the University of Adelaide interviewed 544 women born in 1973 and 1974 and checked their medical records and those of their mothers, the BBC reports. Women with irregular periods were more likely to have been large babies and to have been born to mothers who were severely overweight.
Davies said that the rise in obesity in most industrialized countries makes their findings critical.
"We may reasonably expect an epidemic of menstrual and fertility diseases as a consequence," he said.
The study was reported at the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology conference in Denmark.