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Eating fish in early childhood reduces risk of asthma and eczema

Cover Media logo Cover Media 2019-10-08
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Children who consume fish early on are less likely to suffer from health problems such as asthma and eczema, according to a new study.

Researchers from St. Olav's University Hospital and Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, Norway conducted a study looking at the relationship between the mother's or child's fish intake and the child's development of eczema, asthma, and hay fever.

They found that children who consumed fish early on showed significantly reduced occurrences of eczema, wheezing and asthma at age six, with reductions ranging from 28 to 40 per cent fewer occurrences for the various conditions.

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They concluded that children should be introduced to fish or cod liver oil, or have their intake increased, in their first year of life to have a preventive effect against the health conditions.

"We compared children who ate fish at least once a week until they were two years old with children who consumed less fish than that," said associate professor and first author Torbjorn Oien, from (NTNU)'s Department of Public Health and Nursing. "In line with previous meta-analyses of several studies, we found that consuming fish at the age of one year seems to reduce the risk of eczema, asthma and wheezing at the age of six. This is more significant than the mother's intake of fish and cod liver oil during pregnancy and breastfeeding or the child's intake at two years, which do not appear to have the same protective effect."

The research team achieved the results by studying data from more than 4,000 families from the paediatric allergy survey Prevention of Allergy among Children in Trondheim, which was started in 2000.

The full study has been published in the journal Nutrients.

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