Researchers Scrutinize Genes, Lifestyles as Incidence of Type 1 Doubles Among Finnish Children Over a 25-Year Period

There has been a dramatic increase in the percentage of Finnish children between ages 5 and 15 who are now labeled as overweight or obese: from 9.5 percent in the mid-1980s to 20 percent now.

Aug 5, 2008

Since the 1950s, Finland has recorded the world’s highest incidence of type 1 diabetes as a percentage of its population.

That distinction—although India is now suffering a major type 2 diabetes epidemic—is one that Finland will likely maintain in the wake of disturbing statistics recently published by Finnish scientists: From 1980 through 2005, the number of Finnish children 15 or younger who developed type 1 diabetes increased by 102 percent.

Researcher Dr. Valma Harjutsalo at the National Public Health Institute in Helsinki and a team of colleagues studied three national databases, looking for the incidence of type 1 diagnoses among children over the 25-year period. Their study excluded children with type 2 diabetes or diabetes brought on as a consequence of other conditions, such as Down’s syndrome, congenital pancreatic defects or steroid use.

The database showed that 10,737 children (5,816 boys and 4,921 girls) had been diagnosed with type 1 before age 15 over the quarter-century period. What troubled them was the dramatic increase in the incidence of type 1 over 25 years: Diagnoses of type 1 increased from 31.4 per 100,000 in 1980 to 64.2 per 100,000 in 2005—a 102 percent increase.

They found that the greatest annual percentage increase in diagnoses, 4.7 percent, occurred in children 0-4. (That figure compares to a worldwide average of 2.5 percent to 3 percent for that age group.)

The Finns theorize that genetic risk factors and environmental triggers team up to create the onset of type 1. For example, scientists worldwide believe that a high birth weight and early weight gain in infancy are risk factors for the disease—a belief seemingly borne out by the dramatic increase in the percentage of Finnish children between ages 5 and 15 who are now labeled as overweight or obese: from 9.5 percent in the mid-1980s to 20 percent now.

They also believe that other environmental factors have contributed to the onset of type 1 in younger and younger children, but are not sure what they are. The research team says that unhealthy, but as yet unknown, changes in Finland’s everyday environment may be causing an earlier triggering of the genes that make children susceptible to type 1.

Source: The Lancet

Click Here To View Or Post Comments

Categories: Diabetes, Diabetes, International, Living with Diabetes, Type 1 Issues, Type 2 Issues

Take the Diabetes Health Pump Survey
See What's Inside
Read this FREE issue now
For healthcare professionals only
  • 12th Annual Product Reference Guide
  • Insulin Syringe Chart
  • Insulin Pen Needles Chart
  • Fast-Acting Glucose
  • Sharps Disposal
  • Blood Glucose Meters Chart
  • Insulin Pumps Chart
See the entire table of contents here!

You can view the current or previous issues of Diabetes Health online, in their entirety, anytime you want.
Click Here To View

See if you qualify for our free healthcare professional magazines. Click here to start your application for Pre-Diabetes Health, Diabetes Health Pharmacist and Diabetes Health Professional.

Learn More About the Professional Subscription

Free Diabetes Health e-Newsletter

Top Rated
Print | Email | Share | Comments (0)

You May Also Be Interested In...


Add your comments about this article below. You can add comments as a registered user or anonymously. If you choose to post anonymously your comments will be sent to our moderator for approval before they appear on this page. If you choose to post as a registered user your comments will appear instantly.

When voicing your views via the comment feature, please respect the Diabetes Health community by refraining from comments that could be considered offensive to other people. Diabetes Health reserves the right to remove comments when necessary to maintain the cordial voice of the diabetes community.

For your privacy and protection, we ask that you do not include personal details such as address or telephone number in any comments posted.

Don't have your Diabetes Health Username? Register now and add your comments to all our content.

Have Your Say...

Username: Password:
©1991-2015 Diabetes Health | Home | Privacy | Press | Advertising | Help | Contact Us | Donate | Sitemap

Diabetes Health Medical Disclaimer

The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. Opinions expressed here are the opinions of writers, contributors, and commentators, and are not necessarily those of Diabetes Health. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website.