Maternal Mediterranean diet reduces childhood asthma

March 1, 2008

Women who adhere to a Mediterranean diet during pregnancy are less likely to have children who suffer from wheeze and atopy.

Women who adhere to a Mediterranean diet during pregnancy are less likely to have children who suffer from wheeze and atopy, according to a report published online Jan. 15 in Thorax.

Leda Chatzi, MD, from the University of Crete in Greece, and colleagues assessed maternal dietary intake during pregnancy and the dietary intake of 460 children in Menorca, Spain. A Mediterranean diet included lots of fruits and vegetables, bread and cereals, legumes, nuts, low-to-moderate amounts of dairy products and eggs, and little red meat.

When the children were 6.5 years old, the researchers found that 13.2% of the children had a persistent wheeze, 5.8% had atopic wheeze, and 17% had atopy. Based on the Mediterranean Diet Score, 36.1% of mothers had a low-quality Mediterranean diet during pregnancy. Children of women with a high score had a lower risk of persistent wheeze (OR, 0.22), atopic wheeze (OR, 0.30), and atopy (OR, 0.55). There was no significant association between wheeze, atopy, and adherence to a Mediterranean diet in the children.

Chatzi L, Torrent M, Romieu, et al. Mediterranean diet in pregnancy protective for wheeze and atopy in childhood. Thorax. Published Online First: 15 January 2008. doi:10.1136/thx.2007.081745.