There are more and more children suffering from allergies – the blame for this is largely attributed to genes and environmental damage. But a new study shows that birth weight also has a minor effect on the risk of allergies in children.
The link between prenatal growth and allergies
As part of a new study, researchers at the University of Adelaide studied the impact of birth weight on the risk of allergies in children. The results suggest that the likelihood of allergic dermatitis (eczema) and food allergies increases dramatically with greater birth weight. Therefore, it seems that the foundations for the development of these allergies have already been laid before birth. The results of the research were presented in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
Previous studies have already suggested an association between birth weight and allergies, but new research has leaked through more than 15,000 publications and evaluated nearly 1,900 posts. Of these, 42 studies have been identified that can provide objective evidence of a link between prenatal growth and allergies.
High weight equals high risk of food allergies and allergic dermatitis
Estimated studies included data from more than 2.1 million people with allergic dermatitis, nearly 70,000 people with food allergies, and more than 100,000 people with allergic rhinitis (hay fever). The assessment found that greater birth weight was associated with a higher risk of food allergy and childhood allergic dermatitis. However, a compound with allergic rhinitis was not detected. This indicates that rapid fetal growth, which leads to high birth weight during normal pregnancy, is a risk factor for some types of childhood allergies. However, there was insufficient data to determine the exact correlation between prenatal growth and allergy risk in adults. In order to clarify questions about the likelihood of allergies later in life, further research is needed.