The Relationship between Breastfeeding and Autoimmune Diseases among Children in Makkah City | Abstract

International Journal of Medical Research & Health Sciences (IJMRHS)
ISSN: 2319-5886 Indexed in: ESCI (Thomson Reuters)


The Relationship between Breastfeeding and Autoimmune Diseases among Children in Makkah City

Author(s):Amna Alotiby*, Reem Bagadood, Rawan Bazuhayr, Lama Shabanah, Nouf Qurbi, Revan Mujahed, Hana Halabi and Khariah Alsufyani

Background: Breast milk is an optimal nutrient source for, and mediates immune protection in, children. Further, it aids antibody production and shapes the mucosal immune response in children. Our study aimed to determine the relationship between breastfeeding and autoimmune diseases, particularly, Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Methods: A cross-sectional study was performed at the Maternity and Children’s Hospital (MCH) in Makkah, Saudi Arabia (between February and August 2020). Data were collected through phone interviews; analysis was performed at 95% confidence intervals using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences. Results: Of the 60 patients enrolled, 44 had RA and 16 had IBD; 31 of these 60 patients (51.7%) were female, and the rest were male. In terms of the feeding type, (28.3%) were breastfed, (21.7%) were formula-fed, and (50.0%) were mixed-fed. Compared with the IBD patients, a higher percentage of RA patients were formula-fed (92.3% vs. 7.7%) and mixed-fed (80% vs. 20%). In contrast, 52.9% and 47.1% of IBD and RA patients, respectively, were breastfed. This difference in the feeding type was statistically significant (p=0.011). Our results also indicated that the duration of breastfeeding (0-6, 6-24, and >24 months) was not associated with the incidence of RA or IBD (p=0.316). Conclusion: Formula feeding markedly increased the incidence of RA, but not IBD, in children. Hence, exclusive breastfeeding may reduce the risk of RA. Further studies across multiple medical centres in Saudi Arabia with large sample sizes are recommended.

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