Low Incidence of Type 1 Diabetes in Macedonia

A survey recording the rate of type 1 diabetes among children under 15 years of age has found that Macedonia has the lowest incidence of IDDM in Europe, with only 112 cases reported in 6 years. The overall number of cases was 2.45 per 100,000 people per year (the rate in the United States is between 4 and 15 cases per 100,000 people per year, depending on location and ethnicity).

Although ethnically similar to the people of Slovenia, Macedonians are only half as likely to get type 1 diabetes. This is believed to be due in part to the fact that Slovenian lifestyles and diets are much like those of Western European countries, while Macedonian dietary habits are similar to countries in the Near East. Also significant was the fact that while the occurrence of IDDM has been steadily rising throughout Europe, showing as much as a two- to three-fold increase in the last 20-30 years, the number of new cases has remained very stable in Macedonia for the last seven years.

Researchers believe that the Macedonian phenomena may be attributable to a number of factors, including lifestyles, dietary habits, and genetic disposition. Reported in Diabetes Care, September 1993 issue.

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