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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2007 Nov;120(5):1051-7. Epub 2007 Aug 31.

Breast-feeding and atopic disease: a cohort study from childhood to middle age.

Author information

1
Center for Molecular, Environmental, Genetic & Analytic Epidemiology, School of Population Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia. mcmat@unimelb.edu.au

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The literature regarding the association between breast-feeding and atopic diseases has been contradictory.

OBJECTIVE:

We have assessed the relationship between breast-feeding and atopic disorders in a cohort followed into middle age.

METHODS:

The Tasmanian Asthma Study is a population-based prospective cohort study that has followed participants from the age of 7 to 44 years. Exclusive breast-feeding in the first 3 months of life was examined as a risk factor for atopic diseases by using multiple logistic regression and generalized estimating equation analyses.

RESULTS:

At age 7 years, exclusively breast-fed children with a maternal history of atopy had a marginally lesser risk of current asthma than those not exclusively breast-fed (odds ratio [OR], 0.8; 95% CI, 0.6-1.0). However, after age 7 years, the risk reversed, and exclusively breast-fed children had an increased risk of current asthma at 14 (OR, 1.46; 95% CI, 1.02-2.07), 32 (OR, 1.84; 95% CI, 1.06-3.3), and 44 (OR, 1.57; 95% CI, 1.15-2.14) years. Exclusively breast-fed children also had a reduced risk of food allergy at age 7 years but an increased risk of food allergy (OR, 1.26; 95% CI, 1.1-1.5) and allergic rhinitis (OR, 1.2; 95% CI, 1.0-1.3) at 44 years.

CONCLUSION:

Exclusively breast-fed babies with a maternal history of atopy were less likely to develop asthma before the age of 7 years, but more likely to develop asthma after the age of 7 years.

CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS:

The current recommendation to breast-feed high-risk infants for protection against early wheezing illness can be confirmed. However, the recommendation should be reconsidered for protection against allergic asthma and atopy in the longer term.

PMID:
17764732
DOI:
10.1016/j.jaci.2007.06.030
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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