Infant Feeding in Finnish Children <7 yr of Age With Newly Diagnosed IDDM

  1. Childhood Diabetes in Finland Study Group
  1. Department of Nutrition and the Children's Hospital, Second Department of Pediatrics, University of Helsinki, and the Departments of Biochemistry and Epidemiology, National Public Health Institute Helsinki, Finland
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Suvi Virtanen, MD, Department of Nutrition, University of Helsinki, SF-00710 Helsinki, Finland.


Objective We studied associations between the type of feeding in infancy and the incidence of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM).

Research Design And Methods We studied 103 newly diagnosed diabetic children <7 yr of age and 103 age- and sex-matched population-based control children in a countrywide study.

Results The risk of IDDM was decreased (P < 0.05) among children breast-fed for at least 7 mo (odds ratio [OR] 0.45, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.24–0.85) or exclusively breast-fed for at least 3 (OR 0.33, 95% CI 0.13–0.84) or 4 (OR 0.43, 95% CI 0.22–0.84) mo. Also, children who were ≥4 mo old at the time of introduction of supplementary milk feeding had a lower risk of diabetes (OR 0.48, 95% CI 0.26–0.91).

Conclusions The protective effects of a long duration of breast-feeding and a late introduction of dairy products on the risk of IDDM remained significant after adjusting for the mother's education.

  • Received August 15, 1990.
  • Accepted January 10, 1991.
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