-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, July 9 (HealthDay News) -- Infants who receive their
first solid food either early or late -- before the age of 4 months
or at 6 months or older -- are at increased risk of developing type
1 diabetes, new research suggests.
Type 1 diabetes is on the rise worldwide, with some of the
fastest increases among children younger than 5 years of age.
Infants' diets are one major area of research into the origins of
the disease, according to the background information in the study
appearing online July 8 in
The study looked at infants in the Denver area who had
first-degree relatives with type 1 diabetes. Infants who were given
solid food for the first time either earlier or later than other
infants were at increased risk of developing type 1 diabetes.
Early exposure to fruit and late exposure to rice or oats were
associated with an increased risk, while breast-feeding when wheat
or barley were introduced appeared to be associated with a reduced
risk, according to a journal news release.
"Our data suggest multiple foods/antigens play a role and that there is a complex relationship between the timing and type of infant food exposures and [type 1 diabetes] risk," wrote Brittni Frederiksen, at the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado, and colleagues.
Although the study found an association between the age of
introduction of solid foods and development of type 1 diabetes in
higher-risk children, it did not establish a cause-and-effect
"In summary, there appears to be a safe window in which to introduce solid foods between 4 and 5 months of age; solid foods should be introduced while continuing to breast-feed to minimize [type 1 diabetes] risk in genetically susceptible children. These findings should be replicated in a larger [study] for confirmation," the authors concluded.
The Nemours Foundation has more about
type 1 diabetes.
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