Breastfeeding as baby could prevent eczema later in life

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding as baby could prevent eczema later in life

- Wavebreak/Istock.com pic via AFPLONDON, Nov 15 ― Individuals who are breastfed as babies exclusively from birth for a sustained period have a lower risk of developing eczema in their teenage years according to a new worldwide study.

"The WHO (World Health Organization) recommends between four and six months of exclusive breastfeeding to aid prevention of allergy and associated illness", lead author Carsten Flohr of the King's College London said in a statement.

Eczema causes the skin to become itchy, dry, cracked, sore and red.

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They used data from the Promotion of Breastfeeding Intervention Trial, which recruited 17,046 healthy term infants from June 15, 1996, through December 31, 1997.

Half of the maternity hospitals and pediatric clinics involved in the study were randomly assigned to receive a breastfeeding promotion intervention, while the other half continued their usual practices.

"Our findings add further weight to the importance of campaigns like the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, which is tackling low rates of breastfeeding globally".

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"PROBIT, the largest randomized trial ever carried out in the area of human lactation, continues to yield scientifically and clinically important information more than two decades after its inception", says Dr. Michael Kramer, from McGill's Faculty of Medicine and the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC), the Principal Investigator on the PROBIT study.

The UK has one of the lowest rates of breastfeeding in the world - only one in three UK-born babies have received any breast milk, compared with 49 per cent in the United States and 71 per cent in Norway, according to medical journal The Lancet.

Babies who are breastfed exclusively could have a lower risk of developing eczema in their teenage years according to new research. In addition, there were less frequent self-reports of flexural eczema symptoms in the past year (OR, 0.57; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.27 to 1.18), asthma (OR, 0.76; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.47 to 1.23), and wheezing in the past year (OR, 0.66; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.37 to 1.18) in the intervention versus the control group, but confidence intervals were wide and included the null.

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