Ethnic differences in association of high body mass index with early onset of Type 1 diabetes - Arab ethnicity as case study

Arshad M. Channanath, Naser Elkum, Dalia Al-Abdulrazzaq, Jaakko Tuomilehto, Azza Shaltout, Thangavel Alphonse Thanaraj

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Objective The "accelerator hypothesis" predicts early onset of Type 1 diabetes (T1D) in heavier children. Studies testing direction of correlation between body mass index (BMI) and age at onset of T1D in different continental populations have reported differing results-inverse, direct, and neutral. Evaluating the correlation in diverse ethnic populations is required to generalize the accelerator hypothesis. Methods The study cohort comprised 474 Kuwaiti children of Arab ethnicity diagnosed with T1D at age 6 to 18 years during 2011-2013. Age- and sex-adjusted BMI z-scores were calculated by comparing the BMI measured at diagnosis with Kuwaiti pediatric population reference data recorded during comparable time-period. Multiple linear regression and Pearson correlation analyses were performed. Results BMI z-score was seen inversely associated with onset age (r,-0.28; p-value<0.001). Children with BMI z-score>0 (i.e. BMI >national average) showed a stronger correlation (r,-0.38; p-value<0.001) than those with BMI z-score<0.(r,-0.19; p-value<0.001); the former group showed significantly lower mean onset age than the latter group (9.6±2.4 versus 10.5±2.7; p-value<0.001). Observed inverse correlation was consistent with that seen in Anglo-saxon, central european, caucasian, and white children while inconsistent with that seen in Indian, New Zealander, and Australian children. Conclusions The accelerator hypothesis generalizes in Arab pediatric population from Kuwait.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0175728
JournalPLoS One
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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