Background: Fish intake in infancy has been associated with reduced risk of allergic disease in early childhood, but it is unknown whether this effect remains as children grow older.
Objective: We studied the possible effect of fish consumption in infancy on prevalent and incident allergic disease up to the age of 12 y.
Design: A total of 3285 children from a prospective Swedish birth cohort (Children, Asthma, Milieu, Stockholm, Epidemiology) were included in the current analyses. At 1, 2, 4, 8, and 12 y, parental questionnaires were used to obtain information on lifestyle factors, environmental exposures, and symptoms of allergic disease. The frequency of fish intake in infancy was assessed in the 1-y questionnaire. Serum immunoglobulin (Ig) E concentrations associated with common allergens were obtained at age 8 y. Generalized estimating equations and multivariate logistic regression were used to examine associations between fish consumption in infancy and prevalent and incident allergic disease at ages 1-12 y, including sensitization and IgE-associated disease at age 8 y.
Results: At 1 y of age, 80% of the children consumed fish regularly (ie, ≥2 times/mo). From 1 to 12 y of age, regular fish consumption in infancy reduced overall risks of prevalent and incident allergic disease [adjusted OR (95% CI) after restriction to children without early symptoms of allergic disease was 0.74 (0.60, 0.90) (P = 0.003) for prevalent rhinitis and 0.78 (0.63, 0.97) (P = 0.028) for prevalent eczema.
Conclusion: Regular fish consumption in infancy may reduce risk of allergic disease up to age 12 y.