Early exposure to solid foods and the development of eczema in children up to 4 years of age
Pediatric Allergy and Immunology , Volume 21 - Issue 1 PART I p. 74- 81
Early exposure to solid foods in infancy has been associated with the development of allergic diseases. However, scientific evidence for this is conflicting. The aim of this study was to examine the association between early exposure to solid foods in the infant's diet and the development of eczema up to 4 years of age. We conducted an etiologic case-control study nested in the PIPO cohort (Prospective Cohort on the Influence of Perinatal Factors on the Occurrence of Asthma and Allergies). In this cohort data on nutrition, environmental exposures and parent-reported eczema were collected prospectively starting from 5 months pregnancy by means of questionnaires administered during two home visits and semi-annual postal questionnaires. In addition, detailed information on the timing of introduction of solid foods at individual food item level was collected at 1 year of age. Adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were computed using logistic regression analysis as a measure of association between eczema and the timing of exposure to solid foods. Early introduction (within the first 4 months) of solid foods was inversely associated with eczema up to 4 years of age (adj OR: 0.49; 95% CI: 0.32-0.74). Moreover, we found that early exposure to solid foods was associated with a reduced risk for eczema only among children with allergic parents (adj OR: 0.35; 95% CI: 0.20-0.63), whereas no significant effect was found among children with non-allergic parents (adj OR: 0.69; 95% CI: 0.37-1.29). The results of this study show that early exposure to solid foods is associated with less parent-reported eczema in children, particularly among children with allergic parents. Therefore, the current study does not support a delayed introduction of solid foods for the prevention of eczema in childhood.