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Diet in 1-year-old farm and control children and allergy development: results from the FARMFLORA birth cohort

Journal article
Authors Karin Jonsson
My Green
Malin Barman
Agneta Sjöberg
Hilde Kristin Brekke
Agnes E Wold
Ann-Sofie Sandberg
Published in Food & Nutrition Research
Volume 60
Issue 1
ISSN 1654-6628
Publication year 2016
Published at Institute of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Nutrition
Department of Food and Nutrition, and Sport Science
Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Infectious Medicine
Language en
Keywords atopy; dairy farm; dietary patterns; fatty acids; infants
Subject categories Respiratory Medicine and Allergy, Pediatrics, Nutrition and Dietetics, Epidemiology, Clinical immunology


BACKGROUND: A farming environment confers strong protection against allergy development. We have previously shown that farming mothers consume more full-fat dairy than control mothers, who instead consume more low-fat dairy, margarine, and oils; margarine and oil intake was associated with increased risk of allergy development in their children. OBJECTIVES: The aims of this study were to investigate the differences in diet between children in farming and control families at 1 year of age, to investigate the relation between the diets of the mothers and their children, and to relate the children's diet to allergy development. DESIGN: The diet of 1-year-old children from dairy farming families (n=28) and from control families in the same rural area (n=37) was assessed by 24-h dietary recalls, followed by 24-h food diaries. Allergy was diagnosed by pediatricians at 3 years of age using strict predefined criteria. RESULTS: Farm children had a higher intake of farm milk, whole cream, cholesterol, saturated fat, and fat in total and tended to eat more butter, while controls consumed more carbohydrates and poultry and tended to eat more margarine. Farm children also had higher intakes of homemade porridge/gruel, oily fish, and iodine. The intake of butter and whole milk in children and mothers correlated significantly in farm families but not in controls. A weak negative association was found between seafood intake and allergy development, while allergy was positively associated with the intake of pork as well as zinc in the control group; these intakes also correlated with each other. CONCLUSIONS: Consistent with mothers in farming families, the children consumed more full-fat dairy and saturated fat than did controls, but this could not be linked to the low risk of allergy in the farming group. Seafood intake might protect against allergy development, in accordance with earlier findings.

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