First Exposure to Solid Food May Predict Type 1 Diabetes in Infants

Published Online: Thursday, October 10, 2013
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Infants already at an increased genetic risk for developing type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM) may be even more likely to be diagnosed with the condition if they are introduced to solid foods too early or too late, according to the results of a recent study.

The study, published online on July 8, 2013, in JAMA Pediatrics, identified 1835 children from the Diabetes Autoimmunity Study in the Young who underwent screening for human leukocyte antigen or who have a first-degree relative with type 1 DM. Researchers from the Colorado School of Public Health followed the infants from birth, collecting and assessing data on their diets.

During the study period, 53 children developed type 1 DM. Infants who were introduced to solid food before they were 4 months of age or after 6 months of age were more likely to develop type 1 DM than those exposed to solid food between 4 and 5 months of age.

Early exposure to fruit and late exposure to rice and oats were associated with the greatest risk of diabetes. Children who were still breast-fed while they were introduced to wheat and barley, however, had a decreased diabetes risk. The results match the recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which suggests that infants be introduced to solid foods between 4 and 6 months of age.

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