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.
- © 2012 by the American Diabetes Association.
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