Washington: Low-fat curd intake by pregnant women can trigger asthma and hay fever (allergic rhinitis) in their children, according to a Harvard study.

Women who ate low-fat yoghurt with fruit once daily were 1.6 times more likely to have children who developed asthma by age seven, compared with children of women with no curd intake.

Ekaterina Maslova of the Harvard School of Public Health, who led the study, said: "This is the first study of its kind to link low-fat yoghurt intake during pregnancy with an increased risk of asthma and hay fever in children.

The results showed that milk intake during pregnancy was not linked with increased risk of developing asthma and it actually protected against the condition.

Maslova has been working with data at the Centre for Foetal Programming at Statens Serum Institut, Denmark, according to a Harvard statement.

Researchers from Harvard assessed milk and dairy intake during pregnancy and monitored the prevalence of asthma and allergic rhinitis using registries and questionnaires in the Danish National Birth Cohort.

Researchers are also looking at the possibility that low-fat yoghurt intake may serve as a marker for other dietary and lifestyle factors.

The study will be presented at the European Respiratory Society's (ERS) Annual Congress in Amsterdam Sep 25.

(Agencies)