Development of childhood allergy in infants fed breast, soy, or cow milk

Salmon R. Halpern, William A. Sellers, Richard B. Johnson, David W. Anderson, Sidney Saperstein, Joan S. Reisch

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169 Scopus citations


Seventeen hundred and fifty-three infants fed breast, soy, or cow milk from birth to 6 months of age were followed for varying periods to 7 years to observe the development of childhood allergy. There were 45.8 per cent with an immediate family history of allergy, 15.6 per cent with a remote history, and 38.6 per cent with a negative history. Allergy occurred in 218 (12.4 per cent), 132 males, 86 females. The development of allergy was similar in the 3 milk groups. The cow group showed allergy earlier than the breast group. Diet did not affect the incidence of the allergic diseases. In 218 allergic children, gastrointestinal allergy occurred in 13 per cent, atopic dermatitis in 33 per cent, urticaria in 8.0 per cent, allergic rhinitis in 50 per cent, and asthma in 43 per cent. Feeding egg yolk before 3 weeks of age or after 6 months of age did not affect the development of allergy. Allergy to soy milk occurred in 0.5 per cent; to cow milk, in 1.8 per cent. The incidence of allergy by family history showed significant differences: immediate, 15.6 per cent; remote, 12.1 per cent; and negative, 8.8 per cent. In the immediate group, allergy occurred earlier and asthma and allergic rhinitis more often. Feeding breast or soy milk in place of proprietary liquid cow milk from birth to 6 months did not affect the development of childhood allergy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-151
Number of pages13
JournalThe Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1973


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy

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