[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Assessing maternal dietary habits across Europe during pregnancy in relation to their national pregnancy recommendations. A collaborative, multi-centre, birth cohort study in nine European countries was conducted as part of European Union funded EuroPrevall project. Standardised baseline questionnaire data included details of food intake, nutritional supplement use, exposure to cigarette smoke during pregnancy and socio-demographic data. Pregnancy recommendations were collected from all nine countries from the appropriate national organisations. The most commonly taken supplement in pregnancy was folic acid (55.6 % Lithuania-97.8 % Spain) and was favoured by older, well-educated mothers. Vitamin D supplementation across the cohort was very poor (0.3 % Spain-5.1 % Lithuania). There were significant differences in foods consumed in different countries during pregnancy e.g. only 2.7 % Dutch mothers avoided eating peanut, while 44.4 % of British mothers avoided it. Some countries have minimal pregnancy recommendations i.e. Lithuania, Poland and Spain while others have similar, very specific recommendations i.e. UK, the Netherlands, Iceland, Greece. Allergy specific recommendations were associated with food avoidance during pregnancy [relative rate (RR) 1.18 95 % CI 0.02-1.37]. Nutritional supplement recommendations were also associated with avoidance (RR 1.08, 1.00-1.16). Maternal dietary habits and the use of dietary supplements during pregnancy vary significantly across Europe and in some instances may be influenced by national recommendations.
Maternal and Child Health Journal 04/2014; · 2.24 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It is unclear why some children develop food allergy. The EuroPrevall birth cohort was established to examine regional differences in the prevalence and risk factors of food allergy in European children using gold-standard diagnostic criteria. The aim of this report was to describe pre-, post-natal and environmental characteristics among the participating countries. In nine countries across four major European climatic regions, mothers and their newborns were enrolled from October 2005 through February 2010. Using standardized questionnaires, we assessed allergic diseases and self-reported food hypersensitivity of parents and siblings, nutrition during pregnancy, nutritional supplements, medications, mode of delivery, socio-demographic data and home environmental exposures. A total of 12,049 babies and their families were recruited. Self-reported adverse reactions to food ever were considerably more common in mothers from Germany (30%), Iceland, United Kingdom, and the Netherlands (all 20-22%) compared with those from Italy (11%), Lithuania, Greece, Poland, and Spain (all 5-8%). Prevalence estimates of parental asthma, allergic rhinitis and eczema were highest in north-west (Iceland, UK), followed by west (Germany, the Netherlands), south (Greece, Italy, Spain) and lowest in central and east Europe (Poland, Lithuania). Over 17% of Spanish and Greek children were exposed to tobacco smoke in utero compared with only 8-11% in other countries. Caesarean section rate was highest in Greece (44%) and lowest in Spain (<3%). We found country-specific differences in antibiotic use, pet ownership, type of flooring and baby's mattress. In the EuroPrevall birth cohort study, the largest study using gold-standard diagnostic criteria for food allergy in children worldwide, we found considerable country-specific baseline differences regarding a wide range of factors that are hypothesized to play a role in the development of food allergy including allergic family history, obstetrical practices, pre- and post-natal environmental exposures.
Pediatric Allergy and Immunology 12/2011; 23(3):230-9. · 3.38 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The relationship between infant feeding patterns and the later development of food allergies has been the focus of much debate and research over the last decade. National recommendations have been made by many countries on how to feed infants to reduce the risk of food allergy but due to the lack of firm evidence the recommendations differ widely. This review has been developed as part of EuroPrevall, a European multicentre research project funded by the European Union, to document the differing feeding recommendations made across Europe, to investigate the current evidence base for any allergy prevention feeding recommendations and to identify areas where further research is needed. This review will also provide information which, when combined with the infant feeding data collected as part of EuroPrevall, will give an indication of compliance to national feeding guidelines which can be utilised to assess the effectiveness of current dissemination and implementation strategies.