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Childhood adversity and type 2 diabetes in young adults.

A study led by Professor Leonie K. Elsenburg and her colleagues from the Epidemiology Section of the Department of Public Health at the University of Copenhagen reveals that there is a relationship between childhood adversity and the development of type 2 diabetes (T2D) in early adulthood (16-38 years old). The research was conducted to determine if there was any connection between childhood adversity and the development of T2D in early adulthood, both in men and women. The study was based on data from the Danish Cohort Study on Life Course (DANLIFE), which included information on the backgrounds and childhood adversities of children born in Denmark since January 1, 1980.

Childhood adversity can include experiences such as abuse, physical or mental illness in the family, and poverty, and has been associated with the development of diabetes even in young adults. Adverse events and circumstances can trigger physiological stress responses and affect the behavior of the nervous system, hormones, and immune response of the body. They can also affect mental well-being and cause behavioral changes that negatively impact health.

The global prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) among adolescents and young adults has significantly increased in the last century, primarily due to changes in lifestyles and obesity rates. Early onset of the disease (before age 40) appears to have a more aggressive pathology, and affected individuals are of working age, may require lifelong treatment, and face a higher risk of complications.

Researchers used data from the DANLIFE study sample, which was divided into five groups of childhood adversities based on annual counts of exposure to adversities in each of three dimensions: material deprivation (family poverty and long-term parental unemployment), loss or threat of loss (parental somatic illness, sibling somatic illness, parental death, sibling death), and family dynamics (placement in foster care, parental psychiatric illness, sibling psychiatric illness, parental alcohol abuse, parental drug abuse, and maternal separation).

From a study population of 1,277,429 individuals, a total of 2,560 women and 2,300 men developed T2D during follow-up, which lasted a mean of 10.8 years. The authors observed that, compared to the “Low adversity” group, the risk of developing T2D in early adulthood was higher in all other adversity groups, both in men and women. The study results highlight the importance of identifying risk factors for T2D in early adulthood for public health and underscore the need for improvements

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