Parental education affects children’s diabetes

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A crucial part in the treatment of type 1 diabetes is to have good long-term blood sugar control. It is an average value for approximately the last three months, and if it is too high, the risk of complications increases.

When Swedish researchers went through data from almost 20,000 children and young people in the National Diabetes Register, they saw that there are big differences linked to the parents’ education. The children’s level of long-term blood sugar HbA1c is lower the more education the parents have. This applies to both fathers’ and mothers’ education.

According to the results, the differences persist throughout the children’s upbringing up to the age of 18, and they also appear to be greater during puberty.

— It is well known that puberty often affects blood sugar control in children with type 1 diabetes. But in our material, blood sugar control during puberty is significantly less affected in children whose mothers and fathers are highly educated, says Oskar Pekkari, one of the researchers behind the study to Today’s Medicine.

In the study, the researchers also investigated whether the children’s blood sugar control was linked to the parents’ income, but it turned out not to be. However, they did see marginally better blood sugar control in children whose parents were married, compared to whether they were divorced or single.

— I think this is a positive finding. There are good conditions for a good blood sugar balance in many different family constellations, says Karin Åkesson, another of the authors of the study.