There is no information concerning the risk of developing insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) in eastern Europe. An IDDM registry has been developed in Midwest Poland for 1970-1984. The risk of developing IDDM in Polish children was determined through utilization of the registry. The incidence of IDDM in Polish children was very low compared with other Caucasian populations. There was a major increase in risk beginning in 1982; the incidence almost doubled from 3.5/100,000 in 1970-1981 to 6.6/100,000 in 1982-1984. The pattern of IDDM in the high-risk period was different from that in the low-risk period, with an altered seasonal pattern and unusual increased incidence in younger children. The rapid increase in incidence as well as altered epidemiologic patterns during this period suggest that major alterations of environmental factors were responsible for the change in risk.

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