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Maternal Mediterranean Diet Reduces Childhood Asthma

Children less likely to have wheeze or atopy

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Women who adhere to a Mediterranean diet during pregnancy are less likely to have children who suffer from wheeze and atopy, according to a report published online Jan. 15 in Thorax.

Leda Chatzi, M.D., from the University of Crete in Greece, and colleagues assessed maternal dietary intake during pregnancy and the dietary intake of 460 children in Menorca, Spain. A Mediterranean diet consists of high intake of fruits and vegetables, bread and cereals, legumes, nuts, low to moderate amounts of dairy products and eggs, and little red meat.

When the children were 6.5 years old, the researchers found that 13.2 percent of the children had persistent wheeze, 5.8 percent had atopic wheeze and 17 percent had atopy. Based on the Mediterranean Diet Score, 36.1 percent of mothers had a low-quality Mediterranean diet during pregnancy. Children of women with a high score had a lower risk of persistent wheeze (odds ratio 0.22), atopic wheeze (OR, 0.30) and atopy (OR, 0.55). There was no significant association between wheeze, atopy and adherence to a Mediterranean diet in the children.

"Our results support a protective effect of a high level of adherence to a Mediterranean diet during pregnancy against asthma-like symptoms and atopy in childhood," Chatzi and colleagues conclude.

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