Aims/hypothesis: We investigated the association between type 1 diabetes and birthweight by age at disease onset.
Methods: This population-based case-referent study used data from two nationwide case registers that are linked to the Swedish Medical Birth Registry and cover incident cases of type 1 diabetes in the 0- to 14-year (since 1 July 1977) and 15- to 34-year age groups (since 1 January 1983). Of the cases linked to the Medical Birth Registry, a total of 9,283 cases with onset before 15 years of age was recorded before 1 January 2003, and 1,610 cases were recorded with onset before 30 years of age and born after 1973 (together 95% of eligible cases). Multiple births and babies of diabetic mothers were excluded. Sex-specific birthweight by gestational week is expressed as multiples of the standard deviation (SDS) and adjusted for year of birth, maternal age and parity.
Results: Cases with onset before 10 years of age (n = 5,792) showed a significant linear trend in odds ratio (OR) by SDS of adjusted birthweight (OR by SDS: 0.062; 95% CI: 0.037-0.086; p < 0.0001), while cases with onset at the age of 10-29 years showed no significant trend (OR by SDS: 0.004; 95% CI: -0.007 to 0.0014; p = 0.22).
Conclusions/interpretation: The association between type 1 diabetes risk and birthweight seems to be limited to cases with disease onset in younger years.