Sep 22, 2011

Low-fat yoghurt, childhood asthma linked

Mothers who eat low-fat yogurt during their pregnancy might increase their babies' risk of developing asthma and hay fever later in life.

Researchers who were trying to study whether fatty acids found in dairy products could help prevent childhood allergies surprisingly found that pregnant women who ate low-fat yoghurt with fruit once a day were 1.6 times more likely to have children who developed asthma by age seven.

The team analyzed dietary habits of more than 70,000 women and their children's health status until they reached the age of seven years.

Findings also showed, daily low-fat yoghurt consumption almost doubled the chance of having a baby with allergic rhinitis (hay fever).

Researchers noted that the possible relation between eating low-fat yogurt and babies' asthma risk may not be a cause and effect relation.

"This is the first study of its kind to link low-fat yoghurt intake during pregnancy with an increased risk of asthma and hay fever in children. This could be due to a number of reasons and we will further investigate whether this is linked to certain nutrients or whether people who ate yoghurt regularly had similar lifestyle and dietary patterns which could explain the increased risk of asthma," said lead author Dr. Ekaterina Maslova of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

He also suggested that absence of fatty acids in low-fat yoghurt might be the key to the puzzling results.

Researchers emphasized that their study didn't show that milk intake during pregnancy was not linked to any increased risk of asthma and it actually protected against the condition.

Experts suggest women especially pregnant ladies follow a balanced diet and do not make a significant change in their dietary habit before consulting with their physician.

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