It may never be too early for parents to instill healthy eating habits in their children. New research suggests that the development of type 1 diabetes may begin during infant feeding for kids who are genetically prone to this disease.
For the study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, scientists from Finland analyzed 230 newborns predisposed to develop the disease because at least one family member had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. The subjects were randomly assigned to either an intervention or a control group that took one of two formulas for four months, or six months if the children were breastfed. The children were then followed until they were 10 years old.
The researchers found that 25 of the participants had developed at least two of the autoantibodies that contribute to the progression of type 1 diabetes. In the control group, 16 percent tested positive for these antibodies, while only 7 percent belonged to the intervention group.
Overall, it was noted that a safe dietary intervention during infancy reduced the development process of type 1 diabetes by 50 percent by the time the participants were 10 years old.
Up to 10 percent of all diabetes cases in the U.S. are type 1 diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.