Does a mother’s diet influence the incidence of children’s asthma?
A 10 year study in Ireland has occurred, which has looked into whether a pregnant mother’s diet could influence the development of asthma in children. The study, titled Pregnancy diet and offspring asthma risk over a 10-year period: the Lifeways Cross Generation Cohort Study, Ireland, has been published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), and has found interesting results.
In the study; 1091 mothers were followed, with diet analysis occurring at the beginning of the study; 3 years into the study; 5 years and then after 10 years, to see if what a mother ate had any link to the incidence of asthma in children. The study focused on three key areas of food intake, the consumption of oily fish, vegetables and vitamin D intake, as previous studies published have found there could be promising links.
Scientifically, this study results were not strong enough to hold significant value; meaning they could not say “eating more oily fish, vegetables and vitamin D would reduce the incidence of asthma”. But to find such a link with sound scientific backing is extremely hard; due to the many study challengers which exist when studying people (ie, the study samples genetics; the reliance of the study groups affordability to fresh produce; dropout rates).
What we can appreciate, is that the researchers have gone to such a length, to study a mother’s diet knowing that diet does play a role in our health; and this study is one of many hundreds which are continually happening across the globe. One message I truly believe is that food is a science, and our science is continually evolving.
Even though this study had to conclude “no clear link”; it did find some promising results that there could still be a link between food and asthma. The authors found that there was a patterning appearing in their results between a higher vitamin D intake during pregnancy and a prevalence of reduced occurrence of asthma (this pattern just did not hold significance value).
The take home messages for us –
Food, I believe, can be the vessel to good health. Our bodies are made up of many cells and each cell in our body requires nutrients. When there are deficiencies, the body does not function optimally. Oily fish (like salmon) each week; fruits and vegetables (like dark green leafy vegetables; mushrooms (vitamin D), citrus fruits (vitamin C)) are foods we find are rich in nutrients, and these nutrients are important for your body and the development of your babies.
Viljoen K, Segurado R, O’Brien J DMed on behalf of the Lifeways Cross Generation Cohort Study Steering Group, et al
Pregnancy diet and offspring asthma risk over a 10-year period: the Lifeways Cross Generation Cohort Study, Ireland. BMJ Open 2018;8:e017013. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-017013
Blog Written By Nicole Barber, Accredited Practising Dietitian