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17-10-2010 | Diabetes | Article

Childhood obesity increases risk for Type 1 diabetes


Free abstract

MedWire News: Results from a systematic review and meta-analysis show that childhood obesity doubles the risk for subsequent Type 1 diabetes.

"Reduction in Type 1 diabetes should be considered as a potential additional benefit of preventing childhood obesity," say the researchers.

Ken Ong (Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, UK) and team included nine studies in their analysis - eight case-control and one cohort study - involving 2658 cases of Type 1 diabetes and 12,703 healthy controls.

Studies were included if they assessed the effect of obesity, body mass index (BMI), or another weight-for-height variable in children aged 0-18 years with an outcome of incident Type 1 diabetes. No study participants had Type 1 diabetes at baseline.

The investigators report that results from an analysis of the four studies that included childhood obesity as a variable showed that it was associated with a significant 2.03-fold increased risk for subsequent Type 1 diabetes. However, these studies had a wide age range at which obesity was assessed, from 1-12 years of age.

The researchers found that a dose-response relationship between higher weight and increased diabetes risk was present, with a significant 25% increase in relative risk associated with each one standard deviation higher BMI on study initiation.

Writing in the journal Diabetic Medicine, Ong et al say that their results indicate that there is "a likely association between childhood obesity, or higher BMI, and subsequent increased risk of childhood-onset Type 1 diabetes."

They add: "It is unclear at what age BMI has the greatest impact nor the underlying mechanism; however, reduction in Type 1 diabetes should be considered as a potential additional benefit of preventing childhood obesity."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Helen Albert

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