The health benefits of omega-3 in the diet have been reinforced with the publication of a new report. The Journal of the American Medical Association has published a study which suggests that a child’s dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids is associated with reduced risk of developing Type 1 diabetes.

The study, which was published last week, claimed that an increase of omega-3 decreased the risk of pancreatic islet auto immunity by 55%. This condition is linked to the development of diabetes.

Between January 1994 and November 2006, the study tested 1,770 children at increased risk of Type 1 diabetes. "At risk" is defined as either possession of a high diabetes risk genotype or having a sibling or parent with Type 1 diabetes.

"Our study suggests that higher consumption of omega-3 fatty acids is associated with a lower risk of IA (pancreatic islet auto immunity, or the development of antibodies against the cells that produce insulin) in children at increased genetic risk of type 1 diabetes," said the research.

The exact cause of Type 1 diabetes is unknown, but it is thought to be affected by environmental and genetic factors.

Other studies have also claimed that bakery products are well placed to help prevent diabetes.

Oxford Brookes University, in the UK, said last year that its research made a link between the consumption of low-glycaemic index (GI) bread and the prevention of Type 2 diabetes. The research was published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition.