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Question:

From Israel:

My wife is 37. She has had Type 1 diabetes for 8 years. Her father had Type 1 diabetes, and a sister and her son also have Type 1 diabetes. There is no history of diabetes in my family. We have a son of 18 months who has not been diagnosed, and another child due in 3 months. Our son was breast-fed to 10 months, and my wife plans to breast feed our second child, at least as long.

Although I recognize that statistics cannot be taken as accurate, is there a percentage figure for the likelihood of our children developing Type 1 diabetes if they follow a normal diet, avoiding various excesses? Last night we saw a TV documentary. A research program had been initiated to confirm if there was a link between the consumption of cow's milk and diabetes in children. Should we avoid giving dairy products, including cheeses and yoghurts to our children? Our son particularly enjoys both these foods. What dairy products may be okay? Do you have a suggested list of foods? Any other suggestions?

Answer:

Contrary to some media hype, the link between cow's milk protein and Type 1 diabetes has not yet been established. There is a study underway in Finland which will provide a definitive answer in about 4 or 5 years but until then there is no reason to avoid any particular dietary substances. There is epidemiological evidence that breast feeding longer than 3 months protects but there are still of plenty breast fed babies who get diabetes.

The risk for your children is somewhere between 3-6% so I would try to put the whole issue out of your mind but encourage your wife to breast feed again for lots of reasons - not just diabetes.

KJR

[Editor's comment: See also:

JSH]

Original posting 28 Dec 97

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:56
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