Eating Fish in Infancy Lowers Eczema Risk
Researchers Uncertain Why Fish Is Protective
Breastfeeding Not Protective
Among the other findings from the study, published online in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood:
- No link was seen between when dairy products were introduced into the diet and eczema risk.
- Having a furry pet in the home had no impact on risk.
- Surprisingly, breastfeeding was found to have no significant impact on eczema risk during the first year of life.
In guidelines published early this year, the American Academy of Pediatrics called for babies at high risk for developing asthma and allergies to be exclusively breastfed for the first few months of life.
"Exclusive breastfeeding for at least four months, compared with feeding regular formula made from cow's milk, appears to help protect high-risk children against milk allergy and eczema in the first two years of life," according to the guidelines.
The group also abandoned earlier recommendations that parents delay the introduction of potentially allergic foods until after a child's first birthday.
Earlier guidelines had called for delaying the introduction of cow's milk until age 1, eggs until age 2, and tree nuts, peanuts and fish until age 3.
While Alm says his findings make a case for introducing fish into an infant's diet during the first few months of life, Fleischer does not recommend this.
He calls the newly published study is intriguing, but far from convincing.
Fleischer is currently working to develop specific food introduction guidelines for high-risk children for the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology.
"I think more studies are needed before we can make a sweeping statement that it is a good idea to give 6- or 9-month-old babies fish," he says.