A new study entitled “Comparison of a French pediatric type1 diabetes cohort’s responders and non-responders to an environmental questionnaire” describes a study to identify predictors of response to environmental questionnaires among parents of children with type 1 diabetes. The study was published in the journal BMC Public Health.
Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition characterized by the body’s inability to produce insulin, a hormone produced by beta cells in the pancreas and responsible for regulating the metabolism of both carbohydrates and fat. Specifically, insulin release drives the absorption of excessive glucose in the blood to be stored in skeletal muscle and fat tissue.
Since the 1980s, the incidence of type 1 diabetes in children age less than 5 years old has significantly increased. While genetic factors can account for the susceptibility to develop diabetes, the two-fold increase observed in such a short period of time cannot solely be attributed to genetic causes, thus indicating that environmental factors have a potential key role in the observed rising incidence of diabetes. However, while environmental factors represent a key factor influencing the onset of type 1 diabetes, there is a clear lack of a comprehensive analysis of their role in the onset of the disease. To obtain this information, direct questionnaires answered by patients and patients families are often the most effective and robust source of information. At the same time, a large proportion of patients failing to respond to these inquiries is frequently noted.
Here, the authors aimed to determine the personal and social economic features of patients who are most likely to be associated with an inquiry-return policy. They studied a population of parents of children with type 1 diabetes age less than 15 years old. They sent a 1379-item environmental questionnaire to 2832 parents. The questionnaires were returned in different periods of time – 867 parents (30.6%) returned the questionnaires within 6 months, 928 (32%) within 12 months, 938 (32.7%) within 18 months, and 946 (33.4%) within 33 months.
The authors found the main predictors of response (or non-response) to the environmental inquiries to be the families’ socioeconomic status, the children ages, and glycemic control. Specifically, the authors found younger children with better glucose blood levels that live in a more prosperous socioeconomic environment to be predictors of parents’ increased inquiry-responses.
The authors’ findings highlight predictors of response which will allow to improve strategies to recruit patients more easily and obtain higher scores for environmental questionnaires.