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Published: 2011-02-22

Umeå study shows later onset of childhood diabetes

NEWS The dramatic and increasing incidence of type 1 diabetes amongst children and adolescents in Sweden seems to have reversed, as well as a shift towards a later onset in recent years. A research group at Umeå University has published these findings in the February issue of the journal Diabetes.

A study using results recorded in the nationwide Swedish Childhood Diabetes Registry shows the clear trend of the number of cases of childhood type 1 diabetes (T1D, formerly called children's and juvenile diabetes) in Sweden has increased dramatically for several decades. Earlier findings from the same research group, has described a doubling of the number of new cases since the late 1970s, and similar trends have been reported from many other countries in Europe. An earlier onset age of T1D has also been a clear trend. The current study shows a shift towards an older onset age.

The reasons for the dramatic increase are unclear, but are partly attributed to western lifestyle factors that cause rapid weight gain and accelerated growth in young children, which are shown to be high-risk factors for the disease at the individual level. The leveling off of the diabetes trend described by the researchers is parallel to the stabilization of the proportion of overweight children in Sweden.

For more information, please contact:Doctoral student Yonas BerhanPhone: +46 (0)73-0615088
Email: yonas.berhan@telia.comProfessor Emeritus Gisela DahlquistPhone: +46 (0)90-7853876


Berhan Y, Waernbaum I, Möllsten A, Lind T and Dahlquist G for The Swedish Childhood Diabetes Study Group. Thirty Years of Prospective Nationwide Incidence of Childhood Type 1 Diabetes: The Accelerating Increase by Time Tends to Level Off in Sweden, Diabetes February 2011 60:577-581; doi:10.2337/db10-0813
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