Breastfeeding and prevalence of allergic diseases in Japanese university students.Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 2008; 101(2):153-9AA
Although historical support exists for the concept that breastfeeding might be protective against allergic diseases, contradictory findings have been observed recently.
To investigate the cumulative prevalence of allergic diseases in Japanese university students and to identify explanatory variables including breastfeeding.
From March 18, 2003, through March 29, 2005, a total of 9,615 students newly enrolled at the University of Tokyo responded to a written questionnaire on allergic diseases.
Cumulative prevalence of allergic rhinitis, atopic dermatitis, and asthma was 47.2%, 17.4%, and 9.3%, respectively. These data were closely correlated, and prevalence of any 1 of the 3 diseases significantly increased the odds for historical prevalence of the other 2 (P < .001). Male sex (odds ratio [OR], 1.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.4-1.7) and maternal (OR, 2.2; 95% CI, 2.0-2.5) or paternal (OR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.4-1.8) history of allergic rhinitis were significant correlates of increased odds for allergic rhinitis. Maternal (OR, 2.7; 95% CI, 1.6-4.5), paternal (OR, 3.8; 95% CI, 2.2-6.6), or sibling (OR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.5-2.4) history of atopic dermatitis was a significant correlate of increased odds for atopic dermatitis. As for asthma, maternal (OR, 4.9; 95% CI, 3.0-7.9), paternal (OR, 4.0; 95% CI, 2.3-7.0), or sibling (OR, 3.3; 95% CI, 2.4-4.5) history of asthma was a significant correlate of increased odds. Logistic regression analysis showed no consistent evidence of the effects of breastfeeding on the cumulative prevalence.
The cumulative prevalence of these diseases among young adults revealed that the effect of breastfeeding is negligible when compared with genetic factors.