Higher ultraviolet radiation during early life is associated with lower risk of childhood type 1 diabetes among boys

Sci Rep. 2021 Sep 20;11(1):18597. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-97469-z.


Population-level ecological studies show type 1 diabetes incidence is inversely correlated with ambient ultraviolet radiation (UVR) levels. We conducted a nested case-control study using administrative datasets to test this association at the individual level. Cases (n = 1819) were children born in Western Australia (WA) from 1980-2014, diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at ≤ 16 years. Controls (n = 27,259) were randomly selected from all live births in WA, matched to cases by sex and date of birth. Total ambient erythemal ultraviolet radiation (UVR) doses for each trimester of pregnancy and first year of life were estimated for each individual, using daily NASA satellite data that were date- and geographically-specific. Conditional logistic regression tested the association between UVR dose and case-control status. Type 1 diabetes risk was 42% lower in boys of mothers with third-trimester UVR dose in the highest (compared to the lowest) quartile (p = 0.04). Higher UVR in the first year of life was associated with lower type 1 diabetes risk among boys (p = 0.01). UVR dose was not associated with type 1 diabetes risk in girls. Higher UVR in late pregnancy and early life appear to interact with sex-specific factors to lower type 1 diabetes risk among boys in Western Australia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / epidemiology*
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Risk
  • Sex Factors
  • Ultraviolet Rays*
  • Western Australia / epidemiology