Breastfeeding, age at introduction of foods, and food diversity in infancy were studied for associations with advanced islet autoimmunity and type 1 diabetes. During 1996--2004, a total of 5,915 newborns with human leukocyte antigen-conferred susceptibility to type 1 diabetes were enrolled in the prospective Finnish Type 1 Diabetes Prediction and Prevention Nutrition Study. Children were assessed at intervals of 3-12 months for the appearance of 4 types of islet autoantibodies and type 1 diabetes up to the age of 15 years. Survival models indicated the 3 variables of interest were not associated with advanced islet autoimmunity or type 1 diabetes in the cohort. Early introduction of solid foods was associated with increased risk of advanced islet autoimmunity in children up to age 3 years (for <3 months vs. >4 months, hazard ratio = 2.33, 95% confidence interval: 1.39, 3.91; for 3-4 months vs. >4 months, hazard ratio = 2.18; 95% confidence interval: 1.38, 3.47) but not in longer follow-up (P for interaction = 0.046). Similar results were observed for age at introduction of roots, cereals, egg, and meat relative to risk of advanced islet autoimmunity. No consistent, long-term associations between infant feeding and advanced islet autoimmunity or type 1 diabetes were observed.
Keywords: autoimmunity; birth cohort; food diversity; infant nutrition; type 1 diabetes.
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