Type 1 Diabetes Risk Affected by the Timing of Starting Infants on Solid Food

The authors claim that infants who are still being breastfed while starting on solid foods have a reduced risk of developing Type 1 diabetes, especially if those foods contain barley or wheat. Lead researcher, Jill Norris, MPH, PhD, claims, “”For children who are introduced to solid food before four months of age, the risk of developing Type 1 diabetes is almost two times higher than for children introduced to solid foods at 4 or 5 months of age.””

For the study, Dr. Norris and her team collected and assessed data on children with a heightened genetic risk for Type 1 diabetes. The researchers looked at when solid foods were first introduced, what foods were consumed, and whether the child went on to develop Type 1 diabetes.

Dr. Norris claims that the study results suggest that parents should wait to transition their child to solid foods until after the 4-month birthday. When the baby is ready, solid foods should be introduced by the 6-month birthday or soon after, preferably while the mother is still breast-feeding the baby, which could aid in lowering the risk of Type 1 diabetes.

Dr. Norris believes that additional studies are necessary to determine whether types of food could have an impact on Type 1 diabetes risk while an infant is being weaned. She emphasized that more data needs to be collected on fruits before four months of age and rice and oats following six months. The number of individuals developing Type 1 diabetes has steadily risen each year over previous decades, especially among very young children.

 

Written by Stuart Diamond

 

Source: http://media.jamanetwork.com/news-item/early-late-first-exposure-to-solid-food-appears-associated-with-development-of-type-1-diabetes/