Comparison of the incidence of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus in childhood among five baltic populations during 1983-1988

J. Tuomilehto, T. Podar, G. Brigis, B. Urbonaite, M. Rewers, B. Adojaan, Z. Cepaitis, I. Kalits, H. King, R. Laporte, R. Lounamaa, Z. Padaiga, A. Reunanen, E. Tuomilehto-wolf, M. Walczak

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We have carried out a comparison of the incidence of childhood onset insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus {IDDM} between five populations around the Baltic Sea. These were Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Uthuania and Poland. The risk of IDDM is highest in the world in Finland and also very high in Sweden, on the western and northern side of the Baltic Sea. The risk of IDDM in children on the eastern side of the Baltic Sea has not been known before. The data collection period covered the years 1983-1988. A marked variation in incidence was seen within this relatively small geographical area. Among these five populations, the incidence increased with the latitude. Our present results confirmed the very high incidence of IDDM in Finland. The average age-standardized yearly incidence of IDDM/100 000 was in males under 15 years of age 36.9 in Finland, 10.7 in Estonia, 6.4 in Latvia, 6.5 in Uthuania and 6.0 in Poland. In females the incidence was 31.6, 10.0, 6.9, 7.0 and 6.4 in these five populations, respectively. The differential in incidence in Estonia as compared with Latvia, Lithuania and Poland was statistically significant (P = 0.0002). A slight male excess in incidence was found in countries with higher incidence-Finland and Estonia, but in lower incidence countries the sex ratio was opposite (P = 0.019 for the interaction sex-population). During 1983-1988 the incidence increased significantly in Finland but not in other populations although a large year-to-year variation in incidence was observed in each country, particularly in males. We recorded a peak in IDDM incidence in most of these populations around 1986.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)518-527
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1992

Field of Science*

  • 3.2 Clinical medicine

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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