Babies who are fed fish are far less likely to develop eczema, scientists have found.
They say the introduction of fish into the diet before the age of nine months reduces the risk of developing the skin condition.
Eczema affects seven million in the UK, including one in ten children. Sufferers have an overactive immune system which means skin easily becomes inflamed.
Researchers questioned 5,000 parents in Sweden in 2003 about their child’s diet and any evidence of eczema when the child was six and 12 months old.
They then looked at why some children developed the disease and some did not.
Genes were found to be important.
Children with a sibling or a mother who had the condition were almost twice as likely to be affected by the age of 12 months.
The study, published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, found the introduction of fish in the diet before nine months cut the risk of
developing the disease by 25 per cent.
Author Dr. Bernt Alm, at the University of Gothenburg, said it was hard to explain why a fishy diet reduced the risk, but it could be because of the presence of omega-3 fatty acids in fish.
Researchers also found having a pet bird can help reduce the incidence of eczema, possibly because birds promote exposure to toxins.
Source: The News, 28/9/2008