Systematic Review: Early Infant Feeding and the Risk of Type 1 Diabetes

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Abstract

Background:

In addition to genetic background, a number of environmental factors have been claimed to influence the development of type 1 diabetes (T1D), including infant diet.

Objective:

The aim of the study was to systematically update evidence on the possible relation between early feeding practices and the risk of T1D.

Methods:

The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, Web of Science, and CINAHL were searched for studies of any design up to July 2015. MEDLINE and EMBASE were additionally searched in March 2016. The primary outcome measures were the development of T1D or T1D-associated autoimmunity (T1DA).

Results:

Nine publications were identified. Breastfeeding at the time of gluten introduction, as compared to gluten introduction after weaning, did not reduce the risk of developing T1DA or T1D. In children at high risk of developing T1D, except for gluten introduction at 3 months or younger age compared with gluten introduction at older than 3 months, which increased the risk of T1DA, the age of gluten introduction in infants had no effect on the risk of developing T1DA.

Conclusions:

Current evidence, mainly from observational studies, does not support the claim that early infant feeding practices, such as breastfeeding at gluten introduction or the age of the infant at the time of gluten introduction, may decrease the risk of developing T1D. More robust data are needed from randomized controlled trials.

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