Increasing incidence of childhood-onset type I diabetes in 3 Baltic countries and Finland 1983-1998

Toomas Podar, A. Solntsev, M. Karvonen, Z. Padaiga, G. Brigis, B. Urbonaite, M. Viik-Kajander, A. Reunanen, J. Tuomilehto

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Aims/hypothesis. We aimed to study the incidence of Type I diabetes in 4 countries, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland, during 1983-1998, focusing on the two separate periods of 1983-1990 and 1991-1998. Methods. Population-based incidence data from nationwide diabetes registries were used. Crude and age-standardized incidence rates using the proportions of 39%, 32% and 29% for 5-year age groups (0-4, 5-9 and 10-14 years) were calculated. Yearly incidence was evaluated and the means between the two periods compared. Results. Between 1983-1990 and 1991-1998 there was a statistically significant incidence increase in all 4 countries of Estonia, Lativia, Lithuania and Finland (relative risk 1.15, 95%-Confidence interval 1.10-1.19) and as well as in the 3 Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania (relative risk 1.13, 95%. Confidence interval 1.04-1.22). The crude incidence increased in Estonia from 10.1 (95%-Confidence interval 8.9-11.4) to 12.3 (11.0-13.8), in Latvia from 6.6 (5.8-7.3) to 7.4 (6.6-8.2) and in Lithuania from 6.8 (6.2-7.5) to 7.8 (7.1-8.5). In Finland the incidence rose from 34.6 (33.3-36.0) in 1983-1990 to 40.8 (39.4-42.2) in 1991-1998. In children under 5 years of a age a statistically important increase was seen in Estonia and Finland. The highest incidence for a single year was recorded for all participating countries in the late 1990 s. The highest annual incidence rate of childhood onset Type I diabetes in the world ever known was recorded in Finland in 1998 with 48.5 cases per 100 000 person-years. Conclusion/hypothesis. The incidence of Type I diabetes has increased since 1983 in the three Baltic states as well as in Finland. Long-term monitoring is needed for a better detection in changes in incidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)B17-B20
Number of pages4
Issue numberSuppl. 3
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Epidemiology
  • Incidence
  • Type I diabetes

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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