The study, by Bristol University, was funded by the Diabetes UK Charity and examined 2.5 million people in Oxford between 1985 and 2004.
The research put forth a 2.3% rise in children suffering from Type 1 diabetes, which researchers believe could not be caused solely by genetic factors.
“It could be a result of people being exposed to fewer infections because of changes in hygiene,” said Researcher Professor Polly Bingley. “The immune system is supposed to fight infection, but in type one diabetes it gets misdirected.”
Scientists suggest that the dramatic rise could also be due to increased pollution levels, modifications in children’s diet or a drop in breastfeeding.