SAN DIEGO, April 26--New findings on breastfeeding and asthma, obesity and asthma and snoring and high blood pressure in pregnancy were discussed here today by an expert panel at the American Lung Association/American Thoracic Society International Conference.
Breastfeeding and Asthma
Children who are exclusively breastfed for at least the first four months of life have a substantial reduction in the risk of developing asthma by age 6, suggests a study presented at the conference. The study of 2,834 Australian children found that the introduction of milk other than breast milk before four months of age was a significant risk factor for asthma in children. Wendy Oddy MPH, in work for her Ph.D at the TVW Telethon Institute for Child Health in West Perth, Western Australia, found that compared with children who were exclusively breastfed for the first four months of life, children who were not breastfed exclusively were 27% more likely to have doctor-diagnosed asthma by age six; 44% more likely to wheeze three or more times since the age of 1; 41% more likely to have wheezed in the last 12 months; and 74% more likely to have sleep disturbance due to wheeze within the last 12 months.
Dr. Oddy noted that asthma is the leading cause of hospitalization in American and Australian children, and the prevalence of is asthma increasing in both countries. In Australia, while nearly 90% of babies are breastfed when they leave the hospital, by age 3 months half are no longer exclusively breastfeeding. In the United States, even fewer 3-month-olds are exclusively breastfed, she said. She echoed the World Health Organization recommendation that, if possible, mothers should exclusively breastfeed for at least the first 4 to 6 months of a baby's life.
"The findings of this study are important for the prevention of asthma
in children," Oddy said. There are several possible reasons for the findings,
she noted. "In the past y
Contact: Bill Glitz
American Lung Association