Consumption of vegetables, fruit, and antioxidants during pregnancy and wheeze and eczema in infants

Allergy. 2010 Jun 1;65(6):758-65. doi: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.2009.02267.x. Epub 2010 Jan 22.


Background: Two previous cohort studies showed inverse relationships between maternal vitamin E and zinc intake during pregnancy and the risk of wheeze and/or asthma in the offspring. We investigated the association between maternal intake of vegetables, fruit, and selected antioxidants during pregnancy and the risk of wheeze and eczema in the offspring aged 16-24 months.

Methods: Subjects were 763 Japanese mother-child pairs. Data on maternal intake during pregnancy were assessed with a diet history questionnaire. Data on symptoms of wheeze and eczema were based on criteria of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood.

Results: Higher maternal intake of green and yellow vegetables, citrus fruit, and beta-carotene during pregnancy was significantly associated with a reduced risk of eczema, but not wheeze, in the offspring {adjusted odds ratios (ORs) between extreme quartiles [95% confidence intervals (CIs)] = 0.41 (0.24-0.71), 0.53 (0.30-0.93), and 0.52 (0.30-0.89), respectively}. Maternal vitamin E consumption during pregnancy was significantly inversely related to the risk of infantile wheeze, but not eczema [adjusted OR (95% CI) = 0.54 (0.32-0.90)]. No statistically significant exposure-response associations were observed between maternal intake of total vegetables, vegetables other than green and yellow vegetables, total fruit, apples, alpha-carotene, vitamin C, or zinc and the risk of wheeze or eczema in the children.

Conclusions: Higher maternal consumption of green and yellow vegetables, citrus fruit, and beta-carotene during pregnancy may be protective against the development of eczema in the offspring. Higher maternal vitamin E intake during pregnancy may reduce the risk of infantile wheeze.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antioxidants
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Eczema*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Fruit
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Pregnancy
  • Respiratory Sounds*
  • Vegetables
  • Vitamin E
  • beta Carotene


  • Antioxidants
  • beta Carotene
  • Vitamin E