Association between maternal gluten intake and type 1 diabetes in offspring: national prospective cohort study in Denmark

Julie C Antvorskov, Thorhallur I Halldorsson, Knud Josefsen, Jannet Svensson, Charlotta Granström, Bart O Roep, Trine H Olesen, Laufey Hrolfsdottir, Karsten Buschard, Sjurdur F Olsen

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OBJECTIVE: To examine the association between prenatal gluten exposure and offspring risk of type 1 diabetes in humans.DESIGN: National prospective cohort study.SETTING: National health information registries in Denmark.PARTICIPANTS: Pregnant Danish women enrolled into the Danish National Birth Cohort, between January 1996 and October 2002, MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Maternal gluten intake, based on maternal consumption of gluten containing foods, was reported in a 360 item food frequency questionnaire at week 25 of pregnancy. Information on type 1 diabetes occurrence in the participants' children, from 1 January 1996 to 31 May 2016, were obtained through registry linkage to the Danish Registry of Childhood and Adolescent Diabetes.RESULTS: The study comprised 101 042 pregnancies in 91 745 women, of whom 70 188 filled out the food frequency questionnaire. After correcting for multiple pregnancies, pregnancies ending in abortions, stillbirths, lack of information regarding the pregnancy, and pregnancies with implausibly high or low energy intake, 67 565 pregnancies (63 529 women) were included. The average gluten intake was 13.0 g/day, ranging from less than 7 g/day to more than 20 g/day. The incidence of type 1 diabetes among children in the cohort was 0.37% (n=247) with a mean follow-up period of 15.6 years (standard deviation 1.4). Risk of type 1 diabetes in offspring increased proportionally with maternal gluten intake during pregnancy (adjusted hazard ratio 1.31 (95% confidence interval 1.001 to 1.72) per 10 g/day increase of gluten). Women with the highest gluten intake versus those with the lowest gluten intake (≥20 v
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalThe BMJ
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sept 2018


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Denmark/epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1/complications
  • Eating/physiology
  • Female
  • Glutens/adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects/epidemiology
  • Prenatal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors


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