There has been a five-fold increase in the number of children aged under five diagnosed with type 1 diabetes over the last 20 years, say UK researchers.
Data, due to be presented at a Diabetes UK conference next week, showed a 2.3% yearly rise in the total number of children up to the age of 15 diagnosed with the condition.
The study looked at Oxford's population of 2.6 million between 1985 and 2005.
Study author Polly Bingley, from Bristol University, said: 'The increase is too steep to be put down to genetic factors, so it must be due to changes in our environment'
Simon O'Neill, director of care at Diabetes UK, said the rise in children under five was worrying.