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Association between childhood obesity and subsequent Type 1 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis

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Diabet. Med. 28, 10–18 (2011) Abstract Aims 

To review and synthesize the published evidence on the possible association between childhood obesity and the subsequent risk of Type 1 diabetes. Methods 

The PubMed database was systematically searched for studies using childhood obesity, BMI or %weight-for-height as the exposure variable and subsequent Type 1 diabetes as the outcome. Studies were only included if assessment of obesity preceded the diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes. Results 

Eight case–control studies and one cohort study were included, comprising a total of 2658 cases. Of these nine studies, seven reported a significant association between childhood obesity, BMI or %weight-for-height and increased risk for Type 1 diabetes. Meta-analysis of the four studies that reported childhood obesity as a categorical exposure produced a pooled odds ratio of 2.03 (95% CI 1.46–2.80) for subsequent Type 1 diabetes; however, in those studies, age at obesity assessment varied from age 1 to 12 years. A dose–response relationship was supported by a continuous association between childhood BMI and subsequent Type 1 diabetes in a meta-analysis of five studies (pooled odds ratio 1.25 (95%CI 1.04–1.51) per 1 sdhigher BMI). Conclusion 

There is overall evidence for an association between childhood obesity, or higher BMI, and increased risk of subsequent Type 1 diabetes. Several theories have been proposed for a causal relationship. Reduction in Type 1 diabetes should be considered as a potential additional benefit of preventing childhood obesity.
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Keywords: Type 1 diabetes; body mass index; obesity; systematic review

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: MRC Epidemiology Unit, Institute of Metabolic Science 2: Department of Paediatrics, The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada

Publication date: 01 January 2011

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