The study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
was conducted to investigate whether fish intake in infancy reduced risk of
as children grow older.
The researchers analyzed 3,285
children and used parental questionnaires when the children were of ages 1, 2,
4, 8 and 12 years to obtain information on lifestyle factors, environmental
exposures, and symptoms of allergic disease. The frequency of fish intake in
infancy was assessed in the 1-year questionnaire.
Eighty percent of these children
at age of 1 year ate fish at least twice a month. The other 20 percent did not
eat fish at all.
"We had in a previous study, with
the same children, seen an association between fish intake in infancy and a
reduced risk of allergic disease," said lead author of the study Jessica
Magnusson, "but then we had only been able to study allergic disease up to age
The team followed up with the
present study with information up to 12 years of age to find out if the reduced
risk lasted as the kids got older.
The results showed that including
fish in the baby's diet as little as twice a month significantly reduced
overall risks of prevalent and incident allergic disease.
The study had some limitations,
The type of fish given to the
children was not accounted for.
Specific allergies were not
"The most common food allergens
differ between cultures. Where there is a high consumption of fish, there are
less fish allergies,"
commented Jacqueline Pongracic, division head of allergy
and immunology at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital. She said the
study follows in the same direction as others by introducing food allergens
The question some pediatricians are asking is when
during infancy should the children be exposed to fish to prevent allergies?
Further studies may be required to answer this question.