Diabetes risk linked to when babies are introduced to solid food


Once called juvenile diabetes, type 1 diabetes is a serious illness requiring a lifetime of injections. 215,000 kids and adults are currently living with this type of diabetes. New research reveals what you feed your baby could play a significant role in the chances of your little one developing the disease.

Like all moms, Natasha McPheron wants the best for her new baby, but her current feeding plan actually may be harmful to little Isaac.

"I plan on at least breast feeding for a year before I try to introduce more," said McPheron.

New research from the University of Colorado Denver warns there's a small window of time to introduce solid food, from four to six months of age.

"That is pretty shocking that it's that little window. I don't know how they came up with that research," McPheron said.

If mothers introduce solid food before the fourth month, there's a two-fold risk of diabetes.

"If you introduce solid foods after six months, in other words, if the first time you introduce them is after six months, you have three-fold increased risk of type 1 diabetes," explained Jill M. Norris, MPH, PhD, Professor and Chair of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health.

McPheron is reconsidering her plan. Diabetes runs in the family.

"If it can be prevented, I am going to do it for sure," she said.

The research was done in children with an increased genetic risk for type 1, but researchers believe the findings may apply to all babies.

Additional Information:

Juvenile, or type 1 diabetes, is an insulin-dependent disease that primarily affects children and is carried throughout adulthood. This chronic condition occurs when the pancreas is not producing enough insulin. The human body needs this hormone to allow sugar to enter the cells to produce energy. The cause of type 1 diabetes may be from genetics or an exposure to certain viruses. There is not a cure for diabetes, but it can be maintained with the right treatment. (Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/type-1-diabetes/DS00329)

BREASTFEEDING: Breastfeeding is the most favored form of feeding newborns and babies. Breast milk has been said to provide the most nutrients and benefits to help infants grow into healthy and strong toddlers. The nutrients in breast milk help fight off infections and illness that infants are typically susceptible to and offers beneficial value to moms as well. It is recommended that babies are breastfed until the six to twelve month mark to ensure the the health and well-being of your baby. (Source: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/breastfeeding.html)

SOLID FOOD: Although breastfeeding has always been the recommended source of food for your baby, researchers are now saying that solid foods should be introduced to infants before the four to six month mark. This introduction to solid food is said to reduce the risk of infants developing type 1 diabetes. This doesn't mean that mothers should stop breastfeeding at this mark, but they should slowly begin to feed their babies with solid foods, such as barley, wheat, and rice. Late introduction to solid foods may also lead to a deficiency of nutrients that babies need. Breast milk may not provide the right amount of energy that solid food will. (Source: http://www.familypracticenews.com/news/diabetes-endocrinology-metabolism/single-article/early-late-solid-food-exposures-up-diabetes-risk/4fa37fe86a67ad51207be407100a5321.html)