Growth and risk for islet autoimmunity and progression to type 1 diabetes in early childhood: The environmental determinants of diabetes in the young study

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Increased growth in early childhood has been suggested to increase the risk of type 1 diabetes. This study explored the relationship between weight or height and development of persistent islet autoimmunity and progression to type 1 diabetes during the first 4 years of life in 7,468 children at genetic risk for type 1 diabetes followed in Finland, Germany, Sweden, and the U.S. Growth data collected every third month were used to estimate individual growth curves by mixed models. Cox proportional hazards models were used to evaluate body size and risk of islet autoimmunity and type 1 diabetes. In the overall cohort, development of islet autoimmunity (n = 575) was related to weight z scores at 12 months (hazard ratio [HR] 1.16 per 1.14 kg in males or per 1.02 kg in females, 95% CI 1.06-1.27, P <0.001, false discovery rate [FDR] = 0.008) but not at 24 or 36 months. A similar relationship was seen between weight z scores and development of multiple islet autoantibodies (1 year: HR 1.21, 95% CI 1.08-1.35, P = 0.001, FDR = 0.008; 2 years: HR 1.18, 95% CI 1.06-1.32, P = 0.004, FDR = 0.02). No association was found between weight or height and type 1 diabetes (n = 169). In conclusion, greater weight in the first years of life was associated with an increased risk of islet autoimmunity.


  • Helena Elding Larsson
  • Kendra Vehik
  • Michael J. Haller
  • Xiang Liu
  • Beena Akolkar
  • William Hagopian
  • Jeffrey Krischer
  • Åke Lernmark
  • Jin Xiong She
  • Olli Simell
  • Jorma Toppari
  • Anette G. Ziegler
  • Marian Rewers
External organisations
  • University of South Florida
  • University of Florida
  • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
  • Pacific Northwest Diabetes Research Institute
  • Augusta University
  • Turku University Hospital
  • University of Turku
  • Klinikum rechts der Isar
  • University of Colorado
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Endocrinology and Diabetes
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1988-1995
Number of pages8
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jul 1
Publication categoryResearch