Risk of asthma and allergic outcomes in the offspring in relation to maternal food consumption during pregnancy: a Finnish birth cohort study

Maijaliisa Erkkola, Bright I Nwaru, Minna Kaila, Carina Kronberg-Kippilä, Jorma Ilonen, Olli Simell, Riitta Veijola, Mikael Knip, Suvi M Virtanen
Pediatric Allergy and Immunology 2012, 23 (2): 186-94

BACKGROUND: Epidemiological and immunological studies suggest that maternal diet during pregnancy might affect the development of allergic diseases in the offspring. The authors set out to study the effect of maternal food consumption during pregnancy on the emergence of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC)-based allergic outcomes: asthma, allergic rhinitis, and wheeze by the 5 yr of age.

METHODS: Data from 2441 children at 5 yr of age were analyzed within the Finnish Type 1 Diabetes Prediction and Prevention (DIPP) Nutrition Study, a population-based birth cohort study. Maternal diet was assessed with a validated food frequency questionnaire.

RESULTS: In multiple regression models adjusted for known confounders, low maternal consumption of leafy vegetables (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 1.55; 95% CI: 1.21, 1.98), malaceous fruits (aOR: 1.45; 95% CI: 1.15, 1.84), and chocolate (aOR: 1.36; 95% CI: 1.09, 1.70) were positively associated with the risk of wheeze in children. High maternal consumption of fruit and berry juices was positively associated with the risk of allergic rhinitis (aOR: 1.40; 95% CI: 1.03, 1.90) in children. No associations were observed between maternal food consumption and asthma.

CONCLUSIONS: Development of allergic diseases in preschool children may be influenced by intrauterine exposure to maternal diet.

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