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Association between the age of solid food introduction and eczema: A systematic review and a meta-analysis

N T Waidyatillake, S C Dharmage, K J Allen, G Bowatte, R J Boyle, J A Burgess, J J Koplin, V Garcia-Larsen, A J Lowe, C J Lodge
Clinical and Experimental Allergy: Journal of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2018, 48 (8): 1000-1015

INTRODUCTION: Eczema is a common childhood ailment responsible for a considerable disease burden. Both timing of introduction to solid food and allergenic food are believed to be related to childhood eczema. Despite the growing body of evidence, the relationship between timing of any solid food introduction (allergenic and/or non-allergenic) and development of eczema has not previously been systematically reviewed.

METHODS: PubMed and EMBASE databases were searched using food and eczema terms. Two authors selected papers according to the inclusion criteria and extracted information on study characteristics and measures of association. Meta-analyses were performed after grouping studies according to the age and type of exposure.

RESULTS: A total of 17 papers met the inclusion criteria, reporting results from 16 study populations. Of these, 11 were cohort studies, 2 case-controls, 1 cross-sectional study and 2 randomized controlled trials. Limited meta-analyses were performed due to heterogeneity between studies. Timing of solid food introduction was not associated with eczema. One randomized controlled trial provided weak evidence of an association between early allergenic (around 4 months) food introduction and reduced risk of eczema.

CONCLUSIONS: The available evidence is currently insufficient to determine whether the timing of introduction of any solid food influences the risk of eczema.


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