MONDAY, May 2, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Childhood body size has a causal influence on the risk for type 1 diabetes (T1D), according to a study published online April 28 in Nature Communications.

Tom G. Richardson, Ph.D., from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, and colleagues used Mendelian randomization (MR) to provide evidence that childhood body size has an effect on the risk for T1D.

The researchers found that childhood body size has an effect on the risk for T1D (odds ratio, 2.05 per change in body size category), which persisted after multivariable MR, including accounting for body size at birth and during adulthood (odds ratio, 2.32). Using data from a large-scale T1D meta-analysis including 15,573 cases and 158,408 controls, the direct effect of childhood body size was validated (odds ratio, 1.94). Childhood body size was also found to influence the risk for asthma, eczema, and hypothyroidism, although these effects were mediated by body size later in life.

“Our findings emphasize the importance of implementing preventative policies to lower the prevalence of childhood obesity and its subsequent influence on the rising numbers of T1D cases,” the authors write. “This will help ease health care burdens and also potentially improve the quality of life for individuals living with this lifelong disease.”

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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