Breastfeeding associated with higher lung function in African American youths with asthma

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Journal of Asthma


OBJECTIVE: In the United States, Puerto Ricans and African Americans have lower prevalence of breastfeeding and worse clinical outcomes for asthma compared with other racial/ethnic groups. We hypothesize that the history of breastfeeding is associated with increased forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) % predicted and reduced asthma exacerbations in Latino and African American youths with asthma.

METHODS: As part of the Genes-environments & Admixture in Latino Americans (GALA II) Study and the Study of African Americans, asthma, Genes & Environments (SAGE II), we conducted case-only analyses in children and adolescents aged 8-21 years with asthma from four different racial/ethnic groups: African Americans (n = 426), Mexican Americans (n = 424), mixed/other Latinos (n = 255), and Puerto Ricans (n = 629). We investigated the association between any breastfeeding in infancy and FEV1% predicted using multivariable linear regression; Poisson regression was used to determine the association between breastfeeding and asthma exacerbations.

RESULTS: Prevalence of breastfeeding was lower in African Americans (59.4%) and Puerto Ricans (54.9%) compared to Mexican Americans (76.2%) and mixed/other Latinos (66.9%; p < 0.001). After adjusting for covariates, breastfeeding was associated with a 3.58% point increase in FEV1% predicted (p = 0.01) and a 21% reduction in asthma exacerbations (p = 0.03) in African Americans only.

CONCLUSION: Breastfeeding was associated with higher FEV1% predicted in asthma and reduced number of asthma exacerbations in African American youths, calling attention to continued support for breastfeeding

Medical Subject Headings

African Americans; Asthma; Body Mass Index; Breast Feeding; Female; Forced Expiratory Volume; Hispanic Americans; Humans; Male; Socioeconomic Factors; United States

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