Mediterranean diet during pregnancy and childhood respiratory and atopic outcomes: birth cohort study

Annabelle Bedard, Kate Northstone, A. John Henderson, Seif O. Shaheen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
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Evidence for associations between Mediterranean diet (MD) during pregnancy and childhood asthma, allergy and related outcomes is conflicting. Few cohorts have followed children to school age, and none have considered lung function.

In the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, we analysed associations between maternal MD score during pregnancy (estimated by a food frequency questionnaire, using an a priori defined score adapted to pregnant women; score ranging from 0 (low adherence) to 7 (high adherence)) and current doctor-diagnosed asthma, wheeze, eczema, hay fever, atopy, and lung function in 8907 children at 7–9 years. Interaction between maternal MD and maternal smoking in pregnancy was investigated.

The maternal MD score was not associated with asthma or other allergic outcomes. Weak positive associations were found between maternal MD score and childhood maximal mid-expiratory flow (FEF25–75) after controlling for confounders. Higher MD scores were associated with increased FEF25–75 z-scores adjusted for age, height and gender (β: 0.06 (0.01, 0.12), p=0.03, comparing a score of 4–7 versus a score of 0–3). Stratifying associations by maternal smoking during pregnancy showed that associations with FEF25–75 were only seen in children of never/passive smoking mothers, but no evidence for a statistically significant interaction was found.

Results suggest adherence to a MD during pregnancy may be associated with increased small airway function in childhood, but we found no evidence for a reduced risk of asthma or other allergic outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages36
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Early online date12 Dec 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Dec 2019

Structured keywords



  • birth cohort
  • nutrition
  • lung function
  • prenatal
  • respiratory epidemiology
  • Mediterranean diet

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