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Eating Fish Before Age One Could Reduce Asthma Risk

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Babies who eat fish between turning six months old and their first birthdays may have a lower risk of developing asthma later in life than babies who eat fish earlier than six months of age, or after age 1, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics. Reuters has more:

“A window of exposure between the age of 6 and 12 months might exist in which fish might be associated with a reduced risk of asthma.”

Concern over seafood allergies prompts some parents and doctors to delay introducing fish into babies’ diets. However, some research has found that a mother’s fish consumption during pregnancy, or the baby’s consumption of it early on, may lower the risk of asthma.

Using health and diet information from a group of 7,210 children born between 2002 and 2006 in Rotterdam, the researchers found that 1,281 children ate fish in their first six months of life, 5,498 first ate fish in the next six months, and 431 did not eat fish until after age one.

The researchers then looked at health records for when the children were about four years old, and how many parents reported that their children were wheezing or short of breath.

Between 40 percent and 45 percent of parents of children who did not eat fish until after their first birthdays said their children wheezed, compared to 30 percent of children who first ate fish when they were between six and 12 months old.

That, the researchers said, works out to about a 36 percent decreased risk of wheezing for the children who first had fish between the ages of six months and one year.

Image: Child’s serving of fish, via Shutterstock

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