HealthDay News — Exclusive breastfeeding for 3 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, DC, 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 1520 6-year-olds.

The researchers found that the prevalence of any eczema diagnosis was 20.33%. Prevalence of current eczema at age 6 was 58.58% among those with a previous diagnosis. Higher odds of ever and current eczema diagnosis were seen in association with higher socioeconomic status (≥185% 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 6-year follow-up were lower for children exclusively breastfed for at least 3 months vs those not breastfed or breastfed for 0 to 3 months (adjusted odds ratio, 0.477).

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“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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