HealthDay News — Intrauterine growth restriction protects against allergic diseases, according to a review published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Amy L. Wooldridge, PhD, from University of Adelaide in Australia, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to identify studies evaluating the association between prenatal growth and susceptibility to allergy.

The researchers identified 42 eligible studies, including prospective and retrospective cohort, cross-sectional, and case-control studies. Allergic asthma was investigated in only 2 studies. A 1-kg increase in birth weight was associated with a greater risk for food allergy in children (odds ratio, 1.44), a greater risk for ever allergic dermatitis in children (odds ratio, 1.17), and a greater risk for ever or current allergic dermatitis in infants up to 2 years of age (odds ratio, 1.34). There was no association noted between risk for allergic rhinitis and birth weight.

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“It is increasingly clear that genetics alone do not explain risks of developing allergies, and that environmental exposures before and around birth can program individuals to increased or decreased risk of allergies,” a coauthor said in a statement.

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