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Food Diversity, Breastfeeding Frequency, and the Incidence of Food Allergy and Eczema in the First Year of Life
Sunday, March 6, 2016
South Exhibit Hall H (Convention Center)
Ernest K Kwegyir-Afful, Ph.D., Emma Westermann-Clark, MD, MA, Yuanting Zhang, Ph.D., Stefano Luccioli, MD
Rationale: The goal of this study was to examine the relationship between maternally reported eczema and food allergy among infants aged ≤ 1 year, and determine the impact of breastfeeding and food diversity on maternally reported eczema and food allergy at one year.

Methods: Data were analyzed from the Infant Feeding Practices Study II, a longitudinal survey of US mothers of healthy singletons from pregnancy through the infant’s first year. The survey gathered detailed information on infant dietary intake and health outcomes. A Cox regression model was used to examine the relationship between reported incidence of eczema and food allergy and other risk factors (breastfeeding, food diversity, family history of eczema, food allergy, lifestyle and demographic factors).  

Results: Mother’s education, family history of eczema and gender were significant (p<0.01) risk factors for maternally reported eczema. Mother’s education, family history of food allergy and prior report of eczema were significant (p<0.05) risk factors for maternally reported food allergy. Mothers who reported eczema were more likely (p=0.0004; HR=3.5) to report food allergy in later months. Food diversity and breastfeeding do not appear to impact the onset of food allergy or eczema outcomes.

Conclusions: This study of a large cohort of US children provides further evidence that reports of eczema precedes food allergy. This may support emerging evidence regarding cutaneous sensitization as a risk factor for food allergy, or may reflect the natural history of these diseases.