Physical Activity and the Development of Islet Autoimmunity and Type 1 Diabetes in 5- to 15-Year-Old Children Followed in the TEDDY Study

Diabetes Care. 2023 Jul 1;46(7):1409-1416. doi: 10.2337/dc23-0036.


Objective: This study investigated physical activity and its association with the development of islet autoimmunity and type 1 diabetes in genetically at-risk children aged 5-15 years.

Research design and methods: As part of the longitudinal Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young (TEDDY) study, annual assessment of activity using accelerometry was conducted from age 5 years. Time-to-event analyses using Cox proportional hazard models were used to assess the association between time spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity per day and the appearance of one or several autoantibodies and progression to type 1 diabetes in three risk groups: 1) 3,869 islet autoantibody (IA)-negative children, of whom 157 became single IA positive; 2) 302 single IA-positive children, of whom 73 became multiple IA positive; and 3) 294 multiple IA-positive children, of whom 148 developed type 1 diabetes.

Results: No significant association was found in risk group 1 or risk group 2. A significant association was seen in risk group 3 (hazard ratio 0.920 [95% CI 0.856, 0.988] per 10-min increase; P = 0.021), particularly when glutamate decarboxylase autoantibody was the first autoantibody (hazard ratio 0.883 [95% CI 0.783, 0.996] per 10-min increase; P = 0.043).

Conclusions: More daily minutes spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity was associated with a reduced risk of progression to type 1 diabetes in children aged 5-15 years who had developed multiple IAs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Autoantibodies
  • Autoimmunity
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1* / epidemiology
  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Islets of Langerhans*


  • Autoantibodies