MONDAY, Feb. 25, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Exclusive breastfeeding is not associated with the odds of general eczema diagnosis, but exclusive breastfeeding for three months or longer is associated with reduced odds of continued eczema at age 6, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, held from Feb. 22 to 25 in San Francisco.

Katherine Balas, from the Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C., and colleagues analyzed survey data from the Infant Feeding Practices Study II and its Year Six Follow-up to examine the correlation of exclusive breastfeeding with reported eczema diagnosis and active childhood eczema. Data were included for 1,520 6-year-olds.

The researchers found that the prevalence of any eczema diagnosis was 20.33 percent. Prevalence of current eczema at age 6 was 58.58 percent among those with a previous diagnosis. Higher odds of ever and current eczema diagnosis were seen in association with higher socioeconomic status (≥185 percent federal poverty) and family history of food allergies. There was no significant correlation for exclusive breastfeeding duration with general eczema diagnosis; however, the odds of continued eczema at six-year follow-up were lower for children exclusively breastfed for at least three months versus those not breastfed or breastfed for zero to three months (adjusted odds ratio, 0.477).

“While exclusive breastfeeding may not prevent kids from getting eczema, it may protect them from experiencing extended flare-ups,” Balas said in a statement.

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