Posted by: Indonesian Children | February 2, 2009

Maternal Food Consumption during Pregnancy and the Longitudinal Development of Childhood Asthma

Published ahead of print on April 10, 2008, doi:10.1164/rccm.200710-1544OC

Original Article

American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine Vol 178. pp. 124-131, (2008)
© 2008
American Thoracic Society
doi: 10.1164/rccm.200710-1544OC

Maternal Food Consumption during Pregnancy and the Longitudinal Development of Childhood Asthma

Saskia M. Willers1, Alet H. Wijga2, Bert Brunekreef1,3, Marjan Kerkhof4, Jorrit Gerritsen5, Maarten O. Hoekstra6, Johan C. de Jongste7 and Henriette A. Smit2,3

1 Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS), Division Environmental Epidemiology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands; 2 Centre for Prevention and Health Services Research, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven, The Netherlands; 3 Julius Centre for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands; 4 Department of Epidemiology, and 5 Beatrix Children’s Hospital, University Medical Centre Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands: 6 Centre for Pediatric Allergology, Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital, Utrecht, The Netherlands; and 7 Department of Pediatrics/Respiratory Medicine, Erasmus Medical Centre/Sophia Children’s Hospital, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to S. M. Willers, M.Sc., Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Division of Environmental Epidemiology, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80178, 3508 TD Utrecht, The Netherlands. E-mail s.m.willers{at}

Rationale: Maternal diet during pregnancy has the potential to affect airway development and to promote T-helper-2–cell responses during fetal life. This might increase the risk of developing childhood asthma or allergy.

Objectives: We investigated the influence of maternal food consumption during pregnancy on childhood asthma outcomes from 1 to 8 years of age.

Methods: A birth cohort study consisting of a baseline of 4,146 pregnant women (1,327 atopic and 2,819 nonatopic). These women were asked about their frequency of consumption of fruit, vegetables, fish, egg, milk, milk products, nuts, and nut products during the last month. Their children were followed until 8 years of age. Longitudinal analyses were conducted to assess associations between maternal diet during pregnancy and childhood asthma outcomes over 8 years.

Measurements and Main Results: Complete data were obtained for 2,832 children. There were no associations between maternal vegetable, fish, egg, milk or milk products, and nut consumption and longitudinal childhood outcomes. Daily consumption of nut products increased the risk of childhood wheeze (odds ratio [OR] daily versus rare consumption, 1.42; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 1.06–1.89), dyspnea (OR, 1.58; 95% CI, 1.16–2.15), steroid use (OR, 1.62; 95% CI, 1.06–2.46), and asthma symptoms (OR, 1.47; 95% CI, 1.08–1.99).

Conclusions: Results of this study indicate an increased risk of daily versus rare consumption of nut products during pregnancy on childhood asthma outcomes. These findings need to be replicated by other studies before dietary advice can be given to pregnant women.

Key Words: asthma • children • diet • pregnancy



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