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Scientific study: clinical benefit of a gluten-free diet in type 1 diabetic children with screening-detected celiac disease: A population-based screening study with 2 years’ follow-up.

November 2006 | 3 min read


Celiac disease may occur more often in people with autoimmune diseases, including diabetes. This study sought to determine the prevalence of celiac disease in Danish children with type 1 diabetes and estimate the clinical effects of a gluten-free diet in patients with diabetes and celiac disease.

Key Points

  • Researchers included 269 Danish teenagers less than 16 years old with type 1 diabetes in the study. The diagnosis of celiac disease was confirmed by intestinal biopsy.
  • They followed patients for two years while consuming a gluten-free diet.
  • Celiac disease was found in 12.3% of the diabetic patients (33 patients).
  • Patients with celiac disease were shorter and weighed less than patients without celiac disease. They were significantly younger at the time of their diabetes diagnosis.
  • After two years of initiating a gluten-free diet, the weight and height of the majority of patients (31 out of 33) with celiac disease tended to catch up with the non-celiac disease patients.
  • The authors concluded, “This population-based study showed the highest reported prevalence of celiac disease in type 1 diabetes in Europe. Patients with celiac disease showed clinical improvements with a gluten-free diet. We recommend screening for celiac disease in all children with type 1 diabetes.”

Key Takeaways

Children with diabetes may have a higher rate of co-existing celiac disease, so screening for celiac disease in children with diabetes may be warranted. Presence of celiac disease may be associated with an earlier age of onset of diabetes and may affect growth and other clinical signs and symptoms that can be positively affected by institution of a gluten-free diet.


Hansen D, et al. Clinical Benefit of a Gluten-Free Diet in Type 1 Diabetic Children With Screening- Detected Celiac Disease: A population-based screening study with 2 years’ follow-up. Diabetes Care, 2006; 29:2452–2456.