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Breastfeeding Protects Against Asthma, Allergy

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Children who are not exclusively breastfed during the first 6 months of infancy have a higher risk of asthma and allergy, according to a report from Australia.

Children who are not exclusively breastfed during the first 6 months of infancy have a higher risk of asthma and allergy, according to a report from Australia.Dr. Wendy H. Oddy, of the University of Western Australia, West Perth, and colleagues examined the association between breastfeeding, asthma and atopy — a propensity to various allergies — in 2195 children followed from birth to 6 years.The team defined asthma as doctor-diagnosed asthma and wheeze in the last year, and they used skin prick tests to identify allergies among 1596 of the children.The researchers saw an association between less exclusive breastfeeding and increased asthma and atopy. With each month of breastfeeding, there was a 4 percent reduction in the risk of asthma, they report in the American Journal of Public Health.The investigators call for additional studies to confirm these findings and to understand how breastfeeding is protective.In the meantime, they say, “Public health interventions to promote exclusive breastfeeding for at least 6 months may reduce the prevalence and subsequent morbidity of asthma and atopy in early childhood.”(Source: Reuters, American Journal of Public Health, September 2004.)

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Posted On: 16 September, 2004
Modified On: 6 December, 2013

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