By Randy Dotinga
"Early life exposure to secondhand smoke is a well-established risk factor for asthma and, in some studies, for allergic sensitization and eczema in children," said study co-author Anna Bergstrom. She is from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.
"However, no studies have prospectively looked at its impact on the risk of pediatric food-related symptoms," Bergstrom said in a news release from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).
In the new study, researchers followed the health of almost 3,800 Swedish children between 1994 and 1996.
Researchers followed the kids' health until they were 16. The researchers periodically surveyed the parents about whether or not kids showed any signs of food allergies. Children also were tested to see if they reacted to certain types of allergens found in food.
The researchers found that kids whose parents smoked when the children were 2 months old were more likely to develop signs of food allergies, especially to eggs and peanuts. However, the test findings didn't definitively confirm that food allergies existed.
In addition, the study did not prove the exposure to secondhand smoke definitively caused the potential food allergies. It only showed a link between these factors.
The findings were scheduled to be presented Monday at the AAAAI annual meeting, in Atlanta, and published simultaneously in a supplement of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.