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Ann Allergy. 1993 Oct;71(4):366-71.

Influence of dietary manipulation on incidence of atopic disease in infants at risk.

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Pediatric Clinic I, University of Milan.


Of 5,500 newborn infants whose family histories were screened, 900 were found to have anamnestic risk. Cord-blood IgE was evaluable in 4,677 of these newborns, of which 394 had levels > or = 1 IU/mL; 84 infants had both anamnestic risk and elevated cord-blood IgE levels. Parents of infants with anamnestic risk were informed of their child's risk of atopy. Additionally, for 391 infants at two of the three participating hospitals, a preventive diet was prescribed that recommended breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life, with maternal diet restricted to no more than 200 dL of cow milk per day, no more than one egg per week, and no tomato, fish, shellfish, nuts, or foods allergenic to the mother. Only soy formula was recommended, and introduction of solid foods was also carefully prescribed. Furthermore, doctors recommended against exposure to tobacco smoke, animal allergens, and early entrance into daycare. Evaluable infants whose parents complied with the prescribed diet were found to have a lower incidence of atopy during the first year of life (13.3%, n = 158) than infants whose parents had ignored the prescribed diet (54.7%, n = 86) or infants whose parents were offered no dietary recommendations (28.9%, n = 218). Differences between the compliant group and the two groups with unrestricted diets were significant, indicating that this prescribed diet may protect against or delay onset of food allergies during the first year of life.

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