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Breastfeeding may reduce the risk of eczema in kids

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Babies who were breastfed during their initial few months post delivery showed less risk of developing the skin condition eczema, says a new study.

For the study, which was led by the US CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and FDA (Food and Drug Administration), the researchers evaluated the health, dietary patterns and development data of 1,520 kids in the US since their birth.

By the time the kids arrived at the age of 6 years, around 300 kids were affected with eczema. Around 6 out of 10 of these kids contracted the disease when they were 6, showed the findings of the study.

Kids who belonged to wealthier families and others who held the family history of any food allergies had more chances of being diagnosed with the chronic skin condition, said the researchers.

However, the researchers further said that the kids who were breastfed for around 3 months from birth had 48% similar chances of developing the disease by the time they turned 6 when compared to those who received their mother’s milk for even less than 3 months or weren’t breastfed ever.

The author of the study, Katherine Balas from Children's National Health System said the evidence that children who were breastfed remained protected from getting affected with the disease later on in their life was mixed.

Though breastfeeding might not help in preventing children from developing eczema, it might safeguard them from facing extended outbreaks, Balas further said.

As per WHO, mothers should breastfeed their babies only for a period of six months in order to protect them from any infections, eliminate the risk of allergies as well as to offer the needed energy and nutrients. However, most mothers don’t adopt the practice soon after giving birth to the baby, which often happens due to lack of proper support for them. For instance, one of the lowest rates of breastfeeding worldwide prevails in the United Kingdom, with only 1 percent of babies breastfed for 6 months from birth.

Eczema results in severe itchiness in the skin which causes inflammation and blisters later when scratched. The environment and genes are being associated with this chronic skin disease; however, a lot of details regarding the disease still remain to be unknown like how can one best prevent it.

Breastfed babies have reduced the risk of contracting several chronic health conditions, which includes obesity and asthma, as per the CDC.

The study appears in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

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