Relationship between cows' milk consumption and incidence of IDDM in childhood

Diabetes Care. 1991 Nov;14(11):1081-3. doi: 10.2337/diacare.14.11.1081.


Objective: To compare age-standardized incidence rates of diabetes in children 0-14 yr of age and cows' milk consumption in various countries.

Research design and methods: Ecological correlation study. Only incidence rates from diabetes registries carefully validated by the Diabetes Epidemiology Research International Study Group were used-Finland, Sweden, Norway, Great Britain, Denmark, United States, New Zealand, Netherlands, Canada, France, Israel, and Japan. Data on fluid cows' milk consumption in corresponding countries were obtained from the International Dairy Federation.

Results: Correlation between milk consumption and incidence of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) was 0.96. The data fit a linear regression model, and analysis showed that 94% of the geographic variation in incidence might be explained by differences in milk consumption.

Conclusions: The results support the hypothesis that cows' milk may contain a triggering factor for the development of IDDM.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Animals
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Cattle
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / epidemiology*
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Israel / epidemiology
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Milk*
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Registries
  • United States / epidemiology