Uncertainty still exists regarding the role of some environmental risk in the development of type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) both globally and in Egypt. The objective here was to explore the potential environmental risk factors associated with the development of T1DM among children in Egypt. A case-controlled study of 204 T1DM children and an equal number of age and sex-matched controls was conducted in Assiut, Egypt. Data regarding the parental, gestational, neonatal, and childhood possible risk factors for T1DM were evaluated. The final sex adjusted multivariable logistic regression model revealed that the risk for T1DM was significantly higher among rural residents (aOR = 2.03, 95% CI: 1.30-4.25), those with parental history of T1DM (aOR = 9.03, 95% CI: 1.02-83.32), birth through cesarean section (aOR = 2.13, 95% CI: 1.09-5.03), and having history of early introduction of cow milk in the first year of life (aOR = 19.49, 95% CI: 8.73-45.53). On the other hand, a protective effect was observed between at least six months' breastfeeding, vitamin D supplementation in the first year of life, high physical activity, and the development of T1DM. Educational programs should be adopted to improve awareness and knowledge of the parents to avoid the increased risk factors and encourage protective practices.
Keywords: Egypt; children; environment; risk factors; type 1 diabetes.