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Diabetes Care. 2002 Oct;25(10):1755-60.

Rapid early growth is associated with increased risk of childhood type 1 diabetes in various European populations.

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Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, UK.



To confirm that early growth is associated with type 1 diabetes risk in European children and elucidate any role of infant feeding.


Five centers participated, each with a population-based register of type 1 diabetes diagnosed at <15 years of age. Control subjects were randomly chosen from population registers, schools, or polyclinics. Growth data were obtained from routine records and infant feeding information from parental questionnaire or interview. Patient/control subject differences in mean standard deviation score (SDS) were obtained for each center and pooled. Odds ratios (ORs) were pooled by the Mantel-Haenszel method, and logistic regression was used to adjust for confounders.


Growth data were available for 499 patients and 1,337 control subjects. Height and weight SDS were significantly increased among patients from 1 month after birth, the maximum differences of 0.32 (95% CI 0.14-0.50) and 0.41 (0.26-0.55), respectively, occurring between 1 and 2 years of age. Significant excesses in BMI SDS were observed from 6 months of age, with the largest difference of 0.27 (0.10, 0.44) evident between 1 and 2 years. Breast-feeding was associated with reduced disease risk, OR 0.75 (0.58-0.96). Introduction of cow's milk, formula, or solid foods before 3 months was not associated with significant risk elevation.


Increased early growth is associated with disease risk in various European populations. Any role of infant feeding in this association remains unclear.

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