MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Niels Skipper PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Economics and Business Economics
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: It is unclear if there is an association between type 1 diabetes and school performance in children. Some studies have found type 1 diabetes to be associated with worse performance, while others have found no differences. However, most of the existing literature are based on smaller, non-random samples of children with diabetes. In this study we used data on all public school children in the country of Denmark, involving more than 600,000 schoolchildren where approximately 2,000 had a confirmed diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. The children were tested in math and reading using a nationally standardized testing procedure, and we found no difference in the obtain test scores between children with diabetes compared to children without diabetes.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Overall, I think it is a positive message that comes out of the study. Living with type 1 diabetes introduces a lot of challenges to those who are affected, but our study indicates that impaired school performance is not one of them. It is of course still very important to maintain good metabolic control. It is also unclear if your results would apply to other countries.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: The children in our study are relatively young (grades 2 to 8). It would be interesting to follow the performance if these children later in the educational system, and also into the labor market. The average diabetes duration in our study is only 4.5 years. Maybe differences in performance will show up in higher education.
Skipper N, Gaulke A, Sildorf SM, Eriksen TM, Nielsen NF, Svensson J. Association of Type 1 Diabetes With Standardized Test Scores of Danish Schoolchildren. JAMA. 2019;321(5):484–492. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.21819
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