Sydney: Children breast fed for the first six months of their birth are 1.5 times more likely to develop a nut allergy than those exposed to other foods and fluids, says a study.

A joint project between the Australian National University (ANU) Medical School and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Health Directorate investigated a link between breast feeding and nut allergies.

Parents were asked to report if the child had a nut allergy, and on feeding habits in the first six months of life. The study found that rates of nut allergies in ACT children are increasing and children who were breast fed were more likely to have a nut allergy, the International Journal of Paediatrics reported.

"Some 3.9 percent of children starting school in the ACT have a parent-reported nut allergy, which is almost twice the rate of British children of the same age," study author Marjan Kljakovic, professor at the ANU Medical School, was quoted as saying in a university statement.

The likelihood of developing a nut allergy was 1.5 times higher in children solely breast fed in the first six months of life than in those exposed to other foods and fluids."Our results contribute to the argument that breast feeding alone does not appear to be protective against nut allergy in children- it may, in fact, be causative of  allergy,"  Kljakovic said.

"Peanut allergy accounts for two-thirds of all fatal food-induced allergic reactions. It is important for us to understand how feeding practices might be playing a part," he added.


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