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


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Matheson, MC and Dharmage, SC and Erbas, B and Balasuriya, A and Jenkins, MA and Wharton, CL and Tang, MLK and Abramson, MJ and Walters, EH and Hopper, JL (2007) Breast-feeding and atopic disease: A cohort study from childhood to middle age. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 120 (5). pp. 1051-1057. ISSN 0091-6749

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Background: The literature regarding the association between
breast-feeding and atopic diseases has been contradictory.
Objective: We have assessed the relationship between breastfeeding
and atopic disorders in a cohort followed into middle
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 breastfeed
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.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Breast-feeding, asthma, allergic rhinitis, food allergy, maternal atopy
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Publisher: Mosby, Inc.
Page Range: pp. 1051-1057
ISSN: 0091-6749
Identification Number - DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2007.06.030
Additional Information:

The definitive version is available at

Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2008 14:43
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:36
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