The following is excerpted from an online article posted by MedicalXpress.
Having a food allergy as a baby is linked to asthma and reduced lung function later in childhood, according to a world first study.
he research, led by Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and published in the Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, found that early life food allergy was associated with an increased risk of both asthma and reduced lung growth at six years of age.
Murdoch Children’s Associate Professor Rachel Peters said this was the first study to examine the relationship between challenge-confirmed food allergy in infancy and asthma and poorer lung health later in childhood.
The Melbourne research involved 5276 infants from the HealthNuts study, who underwent skin prick testing to common food allergens, including peanut and egg and oral food challenges to test for food allergy. At six years, children were followed up with further food allergy and lung function tests.
The study found by six years of age, 13.7 percent reported a diagnosis of asthma. Babies with a food allergy were almost four times more likely to develop asthma at six years of age, compared to children without a food allergy. The impact was greatest in children whose food allergy persisted to age six as opposed to those who had outgrown their allergy. Children with a food allergy were also more likely to have reduced lung function.
Associate Professor Peters said food allergy in infancy, whether it resolved or not, was linked to poorer respiratory outcomes in children.
“This association is concerning given reduced lung growth in childhood is associated with health problems in adulthood including respiratory and heart conditions,” she said.