Evidence for a putative role of maternal diet during pregnancy in the development of β-cell autoimmunity in the child is scarce. The authors study the association of food consumption during pregnancy and the development of β-cell autoimmunity in the offspring.
Subjects and methods:
A prospective Finnish birth cohort of 4297 infants with human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DQB1-conferred susceptibility to type 1 diabetes and their mothers. Blood samples were collected from the children at 3-12 months intervals to measure type 1 diabetes-associated antibodies: antibodies against islet cells (ICA), insulin, glutamate dehydroxylase, and islet antigen 2. The mothers completed a validated food frequency questionnaire. The end-point was repeated positivity for ICA together with at least one of the other three antibodies. Piecewise-exponential survival models were used. The effective sample size was 3723, with 138 end-points. The median follow-up time was 4.4 years.
Maternal consumption of butter, low-fat margarines, berries, and coffee were inversely associated with the development of advanced β-cell autoimmunity in the offspring, adjusted for genetic risk group and familial diabetes. These associations for low-fat margarines (use vs. non-use HR 0.60, 95% CI: 0.38-0.93, p = 0.02), berries (continuous variable HR 0.90, 95% CI: 0.83-0.98, p = 0.02) and coffee (highest quarter vs. lowest HR 0.62, 95% CI: 0.40-0.97, p = 0.04), remained significant when adjusting for potential confounding sociodemographic, perinatal, and other dietary factors.
In this study assessing total food consumption of the mother during pregnancy, only few among the 27 food groups tested were weakly related to the development of advanced β-cell autoimmunity in Finnish children.