OBJECTIVES. There are conflicting data regarding the impact of breastfeeding on the development of asthma in late childhood. Our aim with this study was to investigate the relationship between breastfeeding and the prevalence of asthma in children at 14 years.
METHODS. The Mater-University of Queensland Study of Pregnancy is a birth cohort of 7223 women and their infants recruited from a public antenatal clinic in Brisbane, Australia, between 1981 and 1984. Data regarding breastfeeding and the duration of breastfeeding were collected through the use of a questionnaire completed by the mother 6 months postdelivery, and the prevalence of asthma was determined through the use of a questionnaire completed by the mother 14 years postdelivery.
RESULTS. Data regarding both breastfeeding and asthma were available for 4964 children. The prevalence of asthma in children at 14 years was 28.4%. Breastfeeding for ≥4 months was not found to have a significant effect on the prevalence of asthma in 14-year-olds. The unadjusted odds ratio of developing asthma at 14 years if the child was breastfed for ≥4 months was 1.03. The odds ratio of developing asthma did not change appreciably when allowance was made for potential confounding factors.
CONCLUSION. Data from this study indicate that breastfeeding neither increases nor decreases the prevalence of asthma in children at 14 years.