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What babies eat first can affect their diabetes risk

By Tim Sandle     Jul 17, 2013 in Health
In another finding relating to diet and health, scientists consider that the type of food a baby eats in the first few months can affect whether the child will be at a higher risk towards developing diabetes.
In particular, research suggests that infants at risk of type 1 diabetes who receive their first solid foods between ages four months and six months appear less likely to develop the condition compared to others who are given solid food after six months.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when an unexpected immune reaction kills cells in the pancreas, requiring a person to take insulin shots. The classical symptoms are polyuria (frequent urination), polydipsia (increased thirst), polyphagia (increased hunger), and weight loss
The research, according to the Global Post, has found an association between early first foods and the presence of rogue antibodies, a warning sign of type 1 diabetes. For this, researchers studied 1,835 children in the Denver area who had reached at least age 7. Each of the children had been identified as ‘at risk’ from diabetes because they either carried a genetic trait that increased their risk for the disease or had a parent or sibling with type 1 diabetes.
By the age of seven, 53 children developed diabetes, of these, 28 had had their first exposure to solid food outside of the four to six months time window.
In terms of specific foods, Diabetes in Control notes, the study also suggests an increased risk from introducing fruit before 4 months and rice and oats after 6 months. Interestingly, the study also suggests that babies who were breast-fed when they were introduced to wheat were about half as likely to develop type 1 diabetes as were infants not breastfed while starting on wheat. However, more research is required into the risks of specific food types.
The findings have been published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics in a paper titled “Infant exposure and development of type 1 diabetes mellitus: the Diabetes Autoimmunity Study in the Young (DAISY).”
More about Babies, Infants, Diabetes, Type 1 diabetes
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