Sometimes, science is awesome. Like when science invented hybrid cars. Or MRIs. Or Gas-X. (Oh, come on. We all know that few things improve short-term quality of life as effectively as Gas-X. It’s like a wonder drug.) Then there are other times when science comes up with headline-grabbing new discoveries that just serve to stress people out. This week we have a perfect example of this. My lovely editor sent out a link with the provocative headline “Diabetes Tied to Timing of Baby’s First Solid Food”. Alarming, right? It sounds like if you get the timing of solids wrong your baby will get diabetes and ZOMG DID I JUST GIVE MY BABY DIABIETES!?!?!
Fortunately, it seems like journalism is the more alarming culprit here. The first paragraph of the article says clearly that these findings only apply to children with a predisposition to Type 1 diabetes:
Among children already at higher risk for type 1 diabetes, missing the sweet spot for introduction of solid foods may increase the risk even further, researchers found.
Compared with exposing children to solid food for the first time at ages 4 or 5 months, introducing solid food both earlier and later was associated with greater risks of developing the disease (hazard ratio 1.91 for early and HR 3.02 for later), according to Jill Norris, PhD, MPH, of the Colorado School of Public Health in Aurora, and colleagues.
The specific food category associated with the greatest risk was rice or oats when first exposure occurred at age 6 months or later (HR 2.88, 95% CI 1.36-6.11), the researchers reported online in JAMA Pediatrics.
The article goes on to say that introduction of fruits, veggies, and meats had no correlation to diabetes at all. So basically, if you have a family history of Type 1 diabetes, talk to your doctor about when to introduce rice or oats so as to minimize risk. As for the rest of us, we can chill out until the next time science hits us with a heart-attack inducing headline.
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