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Breastfeeding and asthma and allergies: A systematic review and meta-analysis


Lodge, CJ and Tan, DJ and Lau, MXZ and Dai, X and Tham, R and Lowe, AJ and Bowatte, G and Allen, KJ and Dhamarge, SC, Breastfeeding and asthma and allergies: A systematic review and meta-analysis, Acta Paediatrica, 104, (S467) pp. 38-53. ISSN 1651-2227 (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

©2015 The Authors. Acta Pædiatrica published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd

DOI: doi:10.1111/apa.13132


Aim: To systematically review the association between breastfeeding and childhood allergic disease.

Methods: Predetermined inclusion/exclusion criteria identified 89 articles from PubMed, CINAHL and EMBASE databases. Meta-analyses performed for categories of breastfeeding and allergic outcomes. Meta-regression explored heterogeneity.

Results: More vs. less breastfeeding (duration) was associated with reduced risk of asthma for children (5-18 years), particularly in medium-/low-income countries and with reduced risk of allergic rhinitis ≤ 5 years, but this estimate had high heterogeneity and low quality. Exclusive breastfeeding for 3-4 months was associated with reduced risk of eczema ≤ 2 years (estimate principally from cross-sectional studies of low methodological quality). No association found between breastfeeding and food allergy (estimate had high heterogeneity and low quality). Meta-regression found differences between study outcomes may be attributable to length of breastfeeding recall, study design, country income and date of study inception. Some of the protective effect of breastfeeding for asthma may be related to recall bias in studies of lesser methodological quality.

Conclusion: There is some evidence that breastfeeding is protective for asthma (5-18 years). There is weaker evidence for a protective effect for eczema ≤ 2 years and allergic rhinitis ≤ 5 years of age, with greater protection for asthma and eczema in low-income countries.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:allergic disease, asthma, meta-analysis, systematic review
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Public health
Research Field:Community child health
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health)
Objective Field:Neonatal and child health
UTAS Author:Tan, DJ (Mr Daniel Tan)
ID Code:106675
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:311
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2016-02-17
Last Modified:2017-11-07

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