The relationship between early solid feeding practices and risks of recurrent or chronic eczema in childhood was examined in a birth cohort of New Zealand children studied to the age of 10. By the age of 10 years, 7.5% of children had chronic or recurrent eczema. There were clear and consistent associations between the diversity of the child's diet during the first 4 months and risks of eczema. Even when due allowance was made for a range of confounding factors—including parental atopic illness, atopic illness in siblings, the child's early milk diet, and family social background—children exposed to four or more different types of solid food before 4 months had risks of recurrent or chronic eczema that were 2.9 times those of children who were not exposed to early solid feeding. It is concluded that early exposure to a diet diverse in potential food antigens may act to predispose susceptible children to recurrent or chronic childhood eczema.
- Received August 28, 1989.
- Accepted October 17, 1989.
- Copyright © 1990 by the American Academy of Pediatrics