University of Oulu

Jaakko M.S. Yrjänä, Teppo Koski, Helena Törölä, Marita Valkama, Petri Kulmala, Very early introduction of semisolid foods in preterm infants does not increase food allergies or atopic dermatitis, Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, Volume 121, Issue 3, 2018, Pages 353-359, ISSN 1081-1206,

Very early introduction of semisolid foods in preterm infants does not increase food allergies or atopic dermatitis

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Author: Yrjänä, Jaakko M.S.1; Koski, Teppo1; Törölä, Helena1;
Organizations: 1PEDEGO Research Unit and MRC Oulu, University of Oulu and Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
2Biomedicine Research Unit, Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2018
Publish Date: 2020-01-13


Background: The optimal age for the introduction of solid foods for infants has long been a controversial issue.

Objective: To determine whether the early introduction of semisolid foods influences the incidence of food allergy or atopic dermatitis among preterm infants.

Methods: Retrospective data from 464 preterm infants born in Oulu University Hospital between 2008 and 2012 were analyzed. Age- and sex-matched full-term control children from the general population were identified. The primary outcome of the study was the difference in timing of the introduction of complementary feeding between preterm and full-term infants. The secondary outcomes were the incidences of food allergies and atopic dermatitis by the ages of 1 and 2 years.

Results: Semisolid food was introduced at the median corrected age of 1.4 months for all preterm infants, at 1.9 months for late preterm, at 0.9 months for very preterm, and at 0.1 months for extremely preterm infants. The cumulative incidence, either of food allergies or of atopic dermatitis, did not differ significantly between preterm infants and controls by the ages of 1 and 2 years.

Conclusion: The very early introduction of complementary foods into the diet of preterm babies did not increase the incidence of food allergies or atopic dermatitis even among the most preterm infants. This finding supports the hypothesis that the gut-associated lymphoid tissue of preterm infants is ready to encounter food proteins and to begin the maturation process within 3 to 6 months of birth, regardless of gestational age.

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Series: Annals of allergy, asthma, & immunology
ISSN: 1081-1206
ISSN-E: 1534-4436
ISSN-L: 1081-1206
Volume: 121
Issue: 3
Pages: 353 - 359
DOI: 10.1016/j.anai.2018.06.029
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3123 Gynaecology and paediatrics
3121 General medicine, internal medicine and other clinical medicine
Funding: This work was supported by research grants from the Alma and K.A. Snellman Foundation, the Finnish Medical Association, the Allergy Research Foundation and the Finnish Pediatric Research Foundation.
Copyright information: © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license