Increased growth in early childhood has been suggested to increase the risk of type 1 diabetes. This study explored the relationship between weight or height and development of persistent islet autoimmunity and progression to type 1 diabetes during the first 4 years of life in 7,468 children at genetic risk for type 1 diabetes followed in Finland, Germany, Sweden, and the U.S. Growth data collected every third month were used to estimate individual growth curves by mixed models. Cox proportional hazards models were used to evaluate body size and risk of islet autoimmunity and type 1 diabetes. In the overall cohort, development of islet autoimmunity (n = 575) was related to weight z scores at 12 months (hazard ratio [HR] 1.16 per 1.14 kg in males or per 1.02 kg in females, 95% CI 1.06-1.27, P < 0.001, false discovery rate [FDR] = 0.008) but not at 24 or 36 months. A similar relationship was seen between weight z scores and development of multiple islet autoantibodies (1 year: HR 1.21, 95% CI 1.08-1.35, P = 0.001, FDR = 0.008; 2 years: HR 1.18, 95% CI 1.06-1.32, P = 0.004, FDR = 0.02). No association was found between weight or height and type 1 diabetes (n = 169). In conclusion, greater weight in the first years of life was associated with an increased risk of islet autoimmunity.
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