Women who eat low-fat yoghurt while pregnant increase their chances of having children who develop asthma and hay fever, a study has found. Belief till now was completely the opposite.
Daily yoghurt consumption raised the odds of giving birth to a child who suffered from asthma by the age of seven 1.6 times said researchers of the new study. Eating yoghurt almost doubled a mother's chances of her child being diagnosed with allergic rhinitis, or hay fever. However, the same study of 61,912 women in the Netherlands found that drinking milk during pregnancy had a small protective effect.
The researchers wanted to see whether fatty acids found in dairy products could help prevent childhood allergies. They are still investigating the surprising link and believe it may not be a direct causal association.
Lead researcher Dr Ekaterina Maslova, from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, US, said, “This is the first study of its kind to link low-fat yoghurt intake during pregnancy with an increased risk of asthma and hay fever in children. This could be for a number of reasons and we will further investigate whether this is linked to certain nutrients or whether people who ate yoghurt regularly had similar lifestyle and dietary patterns which could explain the increased risk of asthma.” Maslova has been working with data at the Centre for Foetal Programming at Statens Serum Institut, Denmark, according to a Harvard statement
Results of the study will be presented at the European Respiratory Society's annual meeting in Amsterdam on September 25. They were made publicly available online today.