Study infants were born between November 12, 1981 and July 25, 1984. They were selected from a group who had parents with a history of atopy.
Participants were divided into two groups.
I. Prophylaxis Group (N = 103). During the third trimester and while they were breast-feeding, women were instructed to avoid totally all milk, egg, and peanut products, to avoid concentrated soy (tofu), to limit wheat to no more than two servings daily, and to use other grains to fulfill their cereal and starch needs. They were also given prenatal vitamins and calcium supplements of 1500 mg daily. When breast-feeding was stopped, Nutramigen was to be fed to the baby until 12 months of age. They were to avoid solid foods until 6 months of age, starting with nonlegume vegetables followed by rice at 7 months, meat at 8 months, noncitrus juices at 9 months, cow's milk at 12 months, and wheat, soy, corn, and citrus thereafter at monthly intervals.
II. Control Group (N = 185). Women in the control group were encouraged to follow standard diets for pregnancy and lactation, and they were given Enfamil when discontinuing breast-feeding. They were instructed to introduce solid foods as per the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation.
III. Common to both study groups were the encouragement of breast-feeding for at least 4 to 6 months and the use of Tri-Vi-Flor. Parents were given intensive education on reducing environmental allergens and tobacco smoke in the house.
The cumulative prevalence of atopy was lower at 12 months in the prophylactic-treated group (16.2%) compared to the control group (27.1%), resulting from reduced food-associated atopic dermatitis, urticaria and/or gastrointestinal disease by 12 months (5.1% vs 16.4%), caused primarily by fewer positive mild skin tests (1% vs 12.4%).