Relation between breast-feeding and incidence rates of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. A hypothesis

Lancet. 1984 Nov 10;2(8411):1083-6. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(84)91517-4.


The variations in incidence rates of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) in childhood within and between genetically very similar Scandinavian populations and the variations in incidence rates with time are difficult to explain. Epidemiological data show that the incidence of childhood IDDM may now be declining and suggest an inverse correlation between breast-feeding frequency and IDDM in childhood. Case-control data show that diabetic children were breast-fed for shorter periods of time than their healthy siblings and the population at large and that a smaller proportion of diabetic children were ever breast-fed. It is postulated that insufficient breast-feeding of genetically susceptible newborn infants may lead to beta-cell infection and IDDM later in life.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Denmark
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden
  • Time Factors