Introducing solid foods to children with an increased genetic risk of type 1 diabetes at an early or late stage may elevate their diabetes risk further, according to new research published in JAMA Pediatrics.
Previous studies examining the link between the timing of the introduction of solid foods and type 1 diabetes risk have produced conflicting results, according to researchers from the Colorado School of Public Health in Aurora, America.
To further investigate the issue, the team conducted a prospective analysis of the Diabetes Autoimmunity Study in the Young (DAISY). They used data on 1,835 children with an increased genetic risk for type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) who were followed from birth.
Infants given solid food early (before 4 months of age) or late (6 months of age or later) were compared with those exposed at ages 4 to 5 months.
During the course of the study, 53 of the children were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. After adjusting for a number of factors, including certain genes, having a first-degree relative with the disease, maternal education, and type of delivery, the researchers reported that early and late first exposure to any solid food predicted development of T1DM.
Specifically, early exposure to fruit and late exposure to rice or oats was associated with a higher T1DM risk, although breastfeeding at the time of introduction to wheat/barley appeared to lower the risk.
“In summary, there appears to be a safe window in which to introduce solid foods between 4 and 5 months of age; solid foods should be introduced while continuing to breastfeed to minimize type 1 diabetes risk in genetically susceptible children,” the researchers wrote.
They added that the findings should be replicated in a larger cohort study for confirmation.

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