London: Babies who eat fish before they turn nine months are 50 percent less likely to suffer from breathing problems, a new study has found.
Researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden found that infants who were fed fish before they complete nine months were half as likely to report wheezing later in life compared to those who weren`t.
It is hoped the findings, to be published in the Acta Paediatrica journal, will encourage parents to reassess their children`s eating habits, the researchers said.
"Recurrent wheeze is a very common clinical problem in preschool children and there is a need for better medical treatment and improved understanding of the underlying mechanisms," said Dr Emma Goksor, who led the study.
"The aim of our study was to identify both important risk factors and protective factors for the disease," Dr Goksor was quoted as saying by a newspaper.
For their study, the researcher looked at 4,171 randomly selected families and assessed each child`s diet along with their health at six months, 12 months and four-and-half years.
At the final check-up one in five had experienced at least one episode of childhood wheezing and one in 20 had recurring wheezing. Of those, more than half were diagnosed with asthma.
But those who had been fed fish before nine months -- usually white fish, salmon or flat fish -- were half as likely to report wheezing, the researchers said.
Fish is a good source of protein, vitamins and rich in omega-3 fatty acids that can benefit the heart. Currently, adults are recommended to include at least two portions of fish in their diet a weak.
In 2009 another team of Swedish researchers discovered that babies whose mothers consumed fish oil during pregnancy were 16 per
cent less likely to develop eczema and a 13 percent less likely to develop food allergies.