Eating low-fat yogurt during pregnancy could increase the risk that an unborn child will develop asthma and/or hay fever, researchers from the U.S. and Denmark claim in a new study.
Experts at the Harvard School of Public Health and the Center for Fetal Programming at Statens Serum Institut discovered that women who consumed the low-fat dairy product were 1.6 times more likely to have children who develop asthma by the age of seven.
They had reportedly sought to determine whether or not milk and dairy intake while pregnant could help prevent the development of allergies of children. They determined that drinking milk not only did not increase asthma risk, but actually helped to prevent it.
“This is the first study of its kind to link low-fat yogurt intake during pregnancy with an increased risk of asthma and hay fever in children,” lead author Ekaterina Maslova of Harvard said in a statement.
“This could be due to 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,” she added.
In an interview with BBC News, she called it “a puzzling finding.”
“The absence of fatty acids in low-fat yogurt may be key to the results,” Maslova said. “The results suggest that fatty acids play an important role or it could be that people who ate this kind of yoghurt had similar lifestyle and dietary patterns, but we cannot make any conclusions at this stage“¦ We need to replicate these results in other studies first.”
The entire study will be presented at the European Respiratory Society’s (ERS) Annual Congress in Amsterdam on September 25, the ERS said in a September 17 press release. According to AOL News UK, a total of 61,912 women participated in the study.
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