Effect of diet and maternal education on allergies among preschool children: A case-control study

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Abstract

Introduction:

The prevalence of asthma and allergy has increased among children. This increase in prevalence might be related to dietary patterns.

Aims:

The present epidemiological study investigated the relationship between the consumption of fruit, vegetables, nuts, meat and fish, and the prevalence of wheeze, asthma, and eczema among preschool children.

Methods:

This nested case-control study included 1489 children aged 4–6 years and residing in Kaunas city, Lithuania. The subjects were recruited to the KANC newborn cohort study during 2007–2009. Parents’ responses to questionnaires were used to collect information on allergic diseases, diet, and other variables. The association between dietary patterns and children's allergic diseases were tested by using logistic regressions, after adjustment for maternal education level, smoking during pregnancy, parental asthma, children's sex, parity, and antibiotic usage during the first year of life.

Results:

In this study, 83.3% of all children consumed fresh fruit and/or vegetables at least three times per week. A significantly lower adjusted odds ratio (aOR) of wheeze was found among children who ate fruit than among those who did not (aOR: 0.48; 95% CI: 0.22–0.96). The consumption of nuts was also associated with a lower 61% risk of eczema among 4–6 years old children.

Conclusion:

The results indicated a beneficial effect of a frequent consumption of fresh fruit and nuts on the prevalence of allergies among children. These results might have important implications for children's health.

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