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PLoS One. 2012;7(2):e32640. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0032640. Epub 2012 Feb 28.

Increasing incidence and age at diagnosis among children with type 1 diabetes mellitus over a 20-year period in Auckland (New Zealand).

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  • 1Liggins Institute, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.



We aimed to evaluate the incidence of type 1 diabetes mellitus in children <15 years of age (yr) in the Auckland region (New Zealand) over 20 years (1990-2009).


We performed a retrospective review of all patients <15 yr diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, from an unselected complete regional cohort.


There were 884 new cases of type 1 diabetes, and age at diagnosis rose from 7.6 yr in 1990/1 to 8.9 yr in 2008/9 (r(2) = 0.31, p = 0.009). There was a progressive increase in type 1 diabetes incidence among children <15 yr (p<0.0001), reaching 22.5 per 100,000 in 2009. However, the rise in incidence did not occur evenly among age groups, being 2.5-fold higher in older children (10-14 yr) than in the youngest group (0-4 yr). The incidence of new cases of type 1 diabetes was highest in New Zealand Europeans throughout the study period in all age groups (p<0.0001), but the rate of increase was similar in New Zealand Europeans and Non-Europeans. Type 1 diabetes incidence and average annual increase were similar in both sexes. There was no change in BMI SDS shortly after diagnosis, and no association between BMI SDS and age at diagnosis.


There has been a steady increase in type 1 diabetes incidence among children <15 yr in Auckland over 20 years. Contrary to other studies, age at diagnosis has increased and the greatest rise in incidence occurred in children 10-14 yr. There was little change in BMI SDS in this population, providing no support for the 'accelerator hypothesis'.

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