OCT 16, 2019 9:07 AM PDT

Study Links High Birth Weight to Risk of Allergies

WRITTEN BY: Tiffany Dazet

Researchers from the University of Adelaide, Australia have linked the risk of developing childhood food allergies and eczema to heavier birth weight. The results of this systematic research review were published earlier this week in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 

The team of scientists from the university’s Robinson Research Institute, led by Dr. Kathy Gatford, systematically screened more than 15,000 previous studies and found 42 that were eligible for analysis. The eligible studies included 2.1 million people affected by eczema, 70,000 with food allergies, and more than 100,000 with hay fever. 

In a press release from the University of Adelaide regarding the study, Dr. Gatford stated that “allergic diseases including eczema, hay fever, food allergies, anaphylaxis, and asthma are estimated to affect 30-40% of the world’s population.” Dr. Gatford and her team aimed to determine additional risks to developing allergies, as she stated that genetics alone do not explain the risks and “environmental exposures before and around birth can program individuals to increased or decreased risk of allergies.”

The results of their analysis showed that a 1 kg (2.2 lb.) increase in birth weight is associated with a 44% greater risk of food allergy in children and a 17% greater risk of allergic dermatitis—eczema—in children. The risk jumps to 34% in infants and children up to two years of age. The risk of developing hay fever was not associated with birth weight. 

The team concluded that intrauterine growth restriction protects against allergic diseases. However, Dr. Gatford reiterates that intrauterine growth restriction is associated with increased risks of many diseases later in life. In a statement to Daily Mail regarding the study, Dr. Gatford said, “we don’t want small babies, but we would like to understand how poorer growth or slower growth before birth is protective against allergy.”

Dr. Gatford summarized the study by stating that “the main message for mums is that big babies are at increased risk of allergy.” She further suggests that mothers with “big babies” should learn how to modify their surrounding environment to reduce exposure to allergens and other risk factors.

This study provides evidence for infancy and early childhood. The research team suggests that additional studies in older children and adults are needed to establish how allergic diseases progress or persist with growth.

Sources: University of Adelaide, The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (image credit), Daily Mail
 

About the Author
  • Tiffany grew up in Southern California, where she attended San Diego State University. She graduated with a degree in Biology with a marine emphasis, thanks to her love of the ocean and wildlife. With 13 years of science writing under her belt, she now works as a freelance writer in the Pacific Northwest.
You May Also Like
JUL 21, 2020
Immunology
Hormone Therapies Keep Urinary Tract Infections at Bay
JUL 21, 2020
Hormone Therapies Keep Urinary Tract Infections at Bay
More than half of all women will suffer from a urinary tract infection, or UTI, during their lifetimes. Women are consid ...
JUL 23, 2020
Immunology
Cancer Therapy Reduces Lung Scarring
JUL 23, 2020
Cancer Therapy Reduces Lung Scarring
Scientists at the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine have discovered a striking parallel ...
JUL 25, 2020
Cardiology
Neurofibromatosis and How It Affects Heart Health
JUL 25, 2020
Neurofibromatosis and How It Affects Heart Health
Genetic diseases are persistent and often cause minor issues that can develop into more prominent problems later. Take n ...
JUL 29, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Stimulants, Cannabis, and Medical Cannabis Laws
JUL 29, 2020
Stimulants, Cannabis, and Medical Cannabis Laws
Lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations may be at a higher risk of prescription stimulant use, based on a new examination ...
AUG 07, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Excipients: "Inactive" Drug Components Could Be Functioning Beyond Their Scopes
AUG 07, 2020
Excipients: "Inactive" Drug Components Could Be Functioning Beyond Their Scopes
Excipients are chemical additives to medications. They are incorporated into all kinds of pharmaceuticals to fulfil ...
AUG 10, 2020
Cancer
A New Prognostic Biomarker for Paclitaxel Sensitivity in Breast Cancer
AUG 10, 2020
A New Prognostic Biomarker for Paclitaxel Sensitivity in Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is one of the deadliest cancers globally. It has been studied extensively with plenty of treatments availa ...
Loading Comments...