Interbirth Interval Is Associated With Childhood Type 1 Diabetes Risk

  1. Chris C. Patterson1
  1. 1Centre for Public Health, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, U.K.
  2. 2Pediatric Department, Glostrup University Hospital, Glostrup, Denmark
  3. 3Department of Epidemiology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
  4. 4Department of Paediatrics and Diabetes Research Centre, Linkoping University, Linkoping, Sweden
  5. 5Institute of Endocrinology of Lithuanian University of Health Science, Kaunas, Lithuania
  6. 6Kolling Institute of Medical Research, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
  7. 7Paediatric Epidemiology Group, University of Leeds, Leeds, U.K.
  8. 8Centre for Occupational and Health Psychology, Cardiff University, Cardiff, U.K.
  9. 9Department of Public Health and Epidemiology, Riga Stradins University, Riga, Latvia
  10. 10Institute of Endocrinology, Kaunas University of Medicine, Kaunas, Lithuania
  11. 11Department of Paediatrics, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
  12. 12Department of Social Sciences and Communication, University of Lecce, Lecce, Italy
  13. 13Nutrition and Metabolic Diseases Clinic, N. Paulescu Institute of Diabetes, Bucharest, Romania
  14. 14Clinique Pédiatrique Luxembourg, Luxembourg, Luxembourg
  15. 15Department of Pediatrics, University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary
  1. Corresponding author: Chris R. Cardwell, c.cardwell{at}


Short interbirth interval has been associated with maternal complications and childhood autism and leukemia, possibly due to deficiencies in maternal micronutrients at conception or increased exposure to sibling infections. A possible association between interbirth interval and subsequent risk of childhood type 1 diabetes has not been investigated. A secondary analysis of 14 published observational studies of perinatal risk factors for type 1 diabetes was conducted. Risk estimates of diabetes by category of interbirth interval were calculated for each study. Random effects models were used to calculate pooled odds ratios (ORs) and investigate heterogeneity between studies. Overall, 2,787 children with type 1 diabetes were included. There was a reduction in the risk of childhood type 1 diabetes in children born to mothers after interbirth intervals <3 years compared with longer interbirth intervals (OR 0.82 [95% CI 0.72–0.93]). Adjustments for various potential confounders little altered this estimate. In conclusion, there was evidence of a 20% reduction in the risk of childhood diabetes in children born to mothers after interbirth intervals <3 years.

  • Received July 18, 2011.
  • Accepted December 9, 2011.

Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered. See for details.

| Table of Contents