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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date

2002

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Nutrition, Food Science, and Hospitality

First Advisor

Bonny Specker

Abstract

Objective: To investigate whether relationships exist between timing of introduction of solids to the infant's diet and the occurrence of allergy precursors of otitis media, gastrointestinal illness, and respiratory illness. Acquiring insight into these associations may be helpful in developing strategies in prevention of childhood allergies. Design: This study was a trial on the effect of timing of solid foods introduced to the infant's diet in relation to development of allergy precursors such as otitis media, gastrointestinal illness, and respiratory illness. Subjects/Setting: One hundred seventy-five subjects were recruited to the original study by mailings sent to parents of infants born in the Cincinnati area. Of these, 114 provided medial records with 87 of those being complete through 1 year of age. Research Methods and Procedures: Infants participating in the original study were randomized according to timing of introduction of solids with the early group receiving solid foods at 3 months of age and the late group at 6 months of age. Information was abstracted from the medical records concerning episodes of diagnosed otitis media, gastrointestinal illness, and respiratory illness at 3 different age periods of 0-3, 3-6, and 6-12 months of age. Information also had been collected via questionnaire at the first visit regarding mother's age, mother and father's educational level, smoking by mother and others in the house, presence of siblings, total number of people living in the house, as well as information about prenatal vitamin and other supplement use, and method of feeding prior to randomization. Statistical Analysis Performed: Contingency analyses and multivariate analyses using stepwise logistic regression were used to control for potential covariates. Results: Infants who started solids early had significantly more episodes of otitis media at 6-12 months of age but not at 3-6 months of age. Mothers with less education had infants with more episodes of otitis media at 3-6 months of age, independent of the timing of solids. Gastrointestinal illness was not associated with timing of introduction of solids at any of the age periods, but was associated with smoking at 3-6 months of age. Gastrointestinal illness at 0-3 months of age was associated with the use of soy formula, and mothers who took other supplements in addition to vitamins during pregnancy also were found to have infants with more gastrointestinal symptoms at 0-3 months of age. Respiratory illness was associated with late introduction of solids at 6-12 months of age but no relationship existed at earlier ages. Respiratory illness was not associated with household smoking at any of the ages, but infants with siblings had more episodes of respiratory illness at 0-3 months of age than infants without siblings. History of breastfeeding was not associated with any of the illnesses at any age. Application/Conclusion: The findings of a greater occurrence of otitis media at 6-12 months of age among infants introduced to solids at 3 months of age may be the result of cumulative exposure to potentially allergenic components. Recommendations for delay of solid food introduction until 4-6 months of age should continue to be the standard recommendation.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Infants -- Nutrition
Allergy in children

Format

application/pdf

Publisher

South Dakota State University

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