The growing rate of type 1 diabetes among children in Finland appears to have reached a plateau, according to new research .
Incidence of childhood type 1 diabetes in Finland has been steadily climbing for years, peaking in 2005 at an annual rate of 64.2 cases per 100,000 person-years – the highest recorded incidence in children younger than 15 years at the time.
But researchers in the country have revealed that the rate of new cases of type 1 diabetes in kids has levelled off since then.
Valma Harjutsalo, of the National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki, and colleagues used nationwide medical registers to analyse incidence rates of type 1 diabetes in Finnish children between 2006 and 2011 through 2011, as well as the 32-year trend of growing rates from 1980 through 2011.
A total of 14,069 children were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes over the 32-year period, including 3,332 new cases from 2006 through 2011. Peak incidence was seen in 2006 and has since stabilised at between 58 and 65 cases per 100,000 person-years.
In the longer-term trend, the researchers found that following a modest increase until 1988, the incidence rose annually by 3.6 percent until 2005, followed up a plateau until the end of 2011.
“Incidence of type 1 diabetes in Finnish children younger than 15 years has ceased to increase after a period of accelerated increase”, although it’s unclear what has led to this “encouraging observation”, they noted.
One possible explanation is changes in the environment, such as vitamin D intake. Since 2003, dairy products have been fortified with vitamin D, which “may have contributed to the levelling off of T1D incidence,” Harjutsalo and colleagues concluded.
The research was published in the July 24/31 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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