OBJECTIVE: Environmental factors have been suggested to play an important role in the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes. The aim of this study was to assess the influence of breast-feeding, vaccinations, and childhood viral diseases on the initiation of islet autoimmunity in early childhood. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Data were prospectively collected from questionnaires obtained at birth, at 9 months of age, and at 2 years of age in 823 offspring from parents with type 1 diabetes. By 2 years of age, 31 offspring had islet antibodies, and 10 developed overt diabetes by the time of follow-up. RESULTS: In offspring from mothers with type 1 diabetes, duration of exclusive and total breast-feeding did not differ between islet antibody-positive and -negative children, regardless of HLA genotype, and breast-feeding of 3 months or longer was not associated with protection from antibody development or diabetes onset. In offspring from diabetic fathers, non-statistically significant reductions in exclusive and total breast-feeding times were observed in the antibody-positive cohort. Neither type nor quantity of vaccinations (including Bacille Calmette-Guerin vaccine; haemophilus influenzae vaccine; diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine; tick-born encephalitis vaccine; or measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine) were associated with the development of islet antibodies and diabetes. Measles, mumps, and rubella were not reported in children with islet antibodies or diabetes. CONCLUSIONS: This study showed no evidence that proposed environmental factors affect islet antibody development in the first 2 years of life in offspring from parents with type 1 diabetes.

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