Risk factors for type 1 diabetes in children

29,000 children in the UK have type 1 diabetes and this number makes up for 98% of the prevalence of diabetes in children in the UK. Only 2% of children with diabetes develop type 2 diabetes.


Trying to estimate whether your child will develop type 1 diabetes is quite the challenge. There are many different factors that increase the risk and even if all factors point towards it, your child won't necessarily develop diabetes. Something in the environment will have to trigger it. So two children with the exact same predisposition may have different outcomes regarding the diabetes.

Key figures on children and type 1 diabetes

Men with type 1 diabetes have a 1 in 17 chance of getting a child with the condition.
For women with type 1 diabetes there are two different risk factors. If you have a child before the age of 25, there is a 1 in 25 chance that your child will have the condition, but if your child is born after the age of 25, the risk decreases to 1 in 100.
If you (men and women equally) developed diabetes before the age of 11, it will double your children’s risk of developing the condition.
If both parents have it, the risk is between 1 in 10 and 1 in 4.

Children are usually diagnosed between the age of 10-14 and it is estimated that 1 child per 700-1,000 will develop type 1 diabetes.

Last updated: 31/07/2019

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