WOMEN who eat low-fat yoghurt while pregnant increase their chances of having children who develop asthma and hay fever, a study has found.
Daily yoghurt consumption raised the odds of giving birth to a child who suffered from asthma by the age of seven 1.6 times, and doubled a mother's chances of her child being diagnosed with allergic rhinitis, or hay fever.
However, the same study of almost 62,000 women found drinking milk during pregnancy had a small protective effect.
The researchers wanted to see whether fatty acids found in dairy products could help prevent childhood allergies.
They are still investigating the link and believe it may not be a direct causal association.
One possibility is that non-fat nutrient components in yoghurt play a part in increasing allergy risk.
Lead researcher Dr Ekaterina Maslova, from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, US, said: "This is the first study of its kind to link low-fat yoghurt intake during pregnancy with an increased risk of asthma and hay fever in children."
Results of the study will be presented at the European Respiratory Society's annual meeting in Amsterdam on September 25.
They were made publicly available online yesterday.