Aims/hypothesis: High birthweight and increased childhood growth are risk factors for type 1 diabetes. Relative birthweight is associated with HLA genotypes that confer a high risk of diabetes. Our aims were to test whether young children prior to clinical onset of type 1 diabetes have increased: (1) birthweight or birth length standard deviation scores (SDS); (2) height development SDS; or (3) BMI SDS during first 18 months of life and whether these parameters are related to HLA genotypes or mid-parental height (MPH).
Methods: Birthweight, birth length, weight and height were obtained from 58 type 1 diabetes children and 155 controls matched for HLA or not in the Diabetes Prediction in Skåne study.
Results: Birth length SDS corrected for MPH was increased in children developing diabetes compared with all (p < 0.048) and with non-HLA- (p < 0.050) but not with HLA-matched controls. Children developing diabetes had increased height gain at 0 to 18 months of age (p < 0.005). Diabetic children were significantly taller from 6 to 18 months of age when correcting for MPH compared with non-HLA-matched as well as HLA-matched controls, but BMI was not increased.
Conclusions/interpretation: Birth length SDS was associated with diabetes risk HLA. When corrected for MPH, children developing diabetes were taller at birth than non-HLA- but not taller than HLA-matched controls. Diabetic children had increased MPH-corrected height up to 18 months of age compared with both HLA- and non-HLA-matched controls. High-risk HLA affects prenatal growth, but other factors may explain the increased postnatal linear growth in children developing diabetes.