An Investigation on Food Allergy In Breastfed Versus Formula Fed Children
A food allergy is defined as “an adverse health effect arising from a specific immune response that occurs reproducibly on exposure to a given food”. Food allergies are an immune response thought to have come from the combination of genetic and environmental factors. Infant feeding practices such as breastfeeding, formula feeding, as well as introducing foods into an infant’s diet are environmental factors that can be controlled. The purpose of this study was to compare the prevalence of food allergy in children who were formula fed with those who were breastfed as infants. An online survey developed by the researcher was used to reach parents in Lahore, Pakistan. The link to the survey was posted online using social media. Seventy-eight parents to children under eighteen years of age met the eligibility requirements and completed the survey. A chi-square analysis was used to compare the incidence of food allergy in children who were formula fed and breastfed, and found that there was no significant difference (p=0.26), which both confirms and contradicts evidence on existing research. A chi-square analysis was also performed to determine the relationship between changes in maternal diet while breastfeeding, and food allergy development. The results show that there was no significant difference between avoiding/not avoiding specific foods while breastfeeding and the development of food allergy in childhood (p=0.91). Further research is needed to examine the relationship between presence of food allergy and the feeding modality of the child during infancy.
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