To compare age-standardized incidence rates of diabetes in children 0–14 yr of age and cows' milk consumption in various countries.

Research Design and Methods

Ecological correlation study. Only incidence rates from diabetes registries carefully validated by the Diabetes Epidemiology Research International Study Group were used-Finland, Sweden, Norway, Great Britain, Denmark, United States, New Zealand, Netherlands, Canada, France, Israel, and Japan. Data on fluid cows' milk consumption in corresponding countries were obtained from the International Dairy Federation.


Correlation between milk consumption and incidence of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) was 0.96. The data fit a linear regression model, and analysis showed that 94% of the geographic variation in incidence might be explained by differences in milk consumption.


The results support the hypothesis that cows' milk may contain a triggering factor for the development of IDDM.

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