Avoiding cow’s milk at birth appears to prevent childhood asthma


  • Dawn O'Shea
  • Univadis Medical News
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Asthma and recurrent wheeze can be prevented by avoiding cow’s milk formula supplementation at birth, finds a study published by JAMA Network Open.

The study randomised newborns at risk for atopy to either breastfeeding (BF) with or without amino acid-based elemental formula (EF) for the first three days of life or BF supplemented with cow’s milk formula (CMF) ≥5 mL/d from the first day of life to five months of age.

Of 312 infants, 302 were followed up at their second birthday. Seventy-seven (51.0%) in the no CMF group and 81 (53.6%) in the CMF group underwent extended follow-up because they had atopic conditions.

Asthma/recurrent wheeze developed in 15 (9.9%) children in the no CMF group, vs 27 (17.9%) in the CMF group (risk difference [RD] -0.079; 95% CI -0.157 to -0.002).

The reduced risk of asthma/recurrent wheeze seen in the no CMF group was even more pronounced in infants with vitamin D levels above median at five months of age and those in the highest quartile of total IgE at 24 months.

The study suggests that avoiding CMF supplementation in the first three days of life might reduce the risk of asthma/recurrent wheeze in young children, especially among those with high vitamin D or IgE levels.