The Impact of Parental Diabetes on the Prevalence of Childhood Obesity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Obesity among children and adolescents is a worldwide public health concern. Type 1 diabetes (T1D) and type 2 diabetes (T2D) incidence are increasing, with heredity and socioeconomic status as possible risk factors. How these factors affect the risk of childhood obesity remains unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between obesity and parental diabetes among 12-year-olds in Sweden, and how it relates to parental education level.
Methods: We used data collected within the Exploring the Iceberg of Celiacs in Sweden (ETICS) study, a cross-sectional multicenter national screening study for celiac disease in 12-year-old children. Relative risk (RR) and confidence interval (CI) were calculated for the association between parental diabetes and obesity, also stratifying for gender and highest parental education.
Results: Among 11,050 children, for both children with parental T1D and T2D, 31% of the children were overweight or obese, compared with 21% among other children. Comparing those with parental T1D with those without parental T1D within gender, boys had a statistically significant higher risk [RR 1.6 (95% CI 1.3–2.0)], and girls had a nonsignificant increased risk [RR 1.3 (95% CI 0.95–1.8)], of being overweight. For children with parental T2D, both boys and girls had a statistically significant increased risk of 1.5. Parental education showed no sign of influencing the RRs.
Conclusions: Parental diabetes is associated with an increased risk of overweight among children, independent of parental education. Concomitant parental diabetes and overweight should be particularly alarming criteria when prioritizing preventive interventions at an early age.


External organisations
  • Umeå University
  • Skåne University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Endocrinology and Diabetes
  • Pediatrics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-264
JournalChildhood obesity (Print)
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jun
Publication categoryResearch