(Natural News) Adding to the wealth of evidence that prove the benefits of beast milk, a new study finds that breastfeeding could lower the risk of eczema in children by half, as reported by the Science Daily.
A team of researchers from King’s College London, Harvard University, University of Bristol, and McGill University assessed whether prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding lowered the risk of asthma, atopic eczema, and low lung function in adolescence. In the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics, they analyzed data from a total of 13,557 teenagers aged 16 from Belarus, all of whom were enrolled in the Promotion of Breastfeeding Intervention Trial (PROBIT). The PROBIT study initially recruited 17,046 mothers and their newborn babies from June 1996 to December 1997.
The researchers studied 31 maternity hospitals and one outpatient clinic associated to each hospital. These participating institutions were randomly assigned to either take part in a breastfeeding program or not. Breastfeeding programs trained nurses, midwives, and doctors to promote and support mothers to breastfeed their babies. The researchers then followed up with the babies until they reached adolescence to determine the effect of supported breastfeeding to their lung function, asthma, and eczema. The participants were tasked to answer surveys on the three health issues. In addition, the researchers conducted a skin examination for eczema, and a breath examination for lung health.
“PROBIT, the largest randomized trial ever carried out in the area of human lactation, continues to yield scientifically and clinically important information more than two decades after its inception,” said Michael Kramer of McGill’s Faculty of Medicine and the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC), the lead investigator on the PROBIT study.
The findings of the study revealed that children whose mothers received support to breastfeed exclusively for a sustained time from birth had a 54 percent lower risk of eczema at the age of 16. However, there was no association between breastfeeding and the risk of asthma. Eczema is a skin condition that causes the skin to be itchy, dry, cracked, sore, and red. About one in every five children and one in 10 adults suffer from eczema.