Study Finds No Evidence for Protective Effect of Breastfeeding Against Childhood Eczema

by Thilaka Ravi on  August 25, 2011 at 4:09 PM Child Health News
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A global study has found that there is no clear evidence to support that exclusive breastfeeding for four months or longer protects against childhood eczema. Hitherto, breastfeeding was considered as an important strategy to prevent the development of eczema and other allergic diseases in children.
Study Finds No Evidence for Protective Effect of Breastfeeding Against Childhood Eczema
Study Finds No Evidence for Protective Effect of Breastfeeding Against Childhood Eczema

The largest worldwide study on the association between breastfeeding, time of weaning and eczema in children, concluded that children who were exclusively breastfed for four months or longer were as likely to develop eczema as children who were weaned earlier.

The researchers, based at King's College London, The University of Nottingham and the University of Ulm, Germany, looked at data from 51,119 children aged 8 to 12, in 21 countries across Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia.

The researchers found no evidence for a protective effect of breastfeeding and delayed weaning on eczema risk in both developed and developing countries, in keeping with other more recent studies, suggesting that the current breastfeeding guidelines with regard to eczema need to reviewed.

Dr Carsten Flohr, one of the researchers based at King's College London, said: "Although there was a small protective effect of breastfeeding per se on severe eczema in affluent countries, we found no evidence that exclusive breastfeeding for four months or longer protects against eczema in either developed or developing nations. We feel that the UK breastfeeding guidelines with regard to eczema should therefore be reviewed. Further studies are now required to explore how and when solids should be introduced alongside breastfeeding to aid protection against eczema and other allergic diseases."

The study has been published online in the British Journal of Dermatology (BJD).

Source: ANI

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Want to find out more about the benefits of breastfeeding? Your Guide to Breastfeeding is a 48-page guide to the rewards and challenges of breastfeeding. Published by the Office of Women's Health, this guide is packed with information on the health benefits of breastfeeding, places to find support, nutrition for mother and baby, etc. Also included are helpful tools such as a breast milk storage guide, a list of questions to ask your doctor or nurse, and a feeding chart. Twenty percent of each purchase will be donated to the La Leche League International, a nonprofit, nonpolitical, and nonsectarian organization whose mission is to help mothers worldwide to breastfeed through mother-to-mother support, encouragement, information, and education, and to promote a better understanding of breastfeeding as an important element in the healthy development of the baby and mother.

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