Researchers investigated intervention to promote prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding protects against asthma, atopic eczema, and low lung function in adolescence . Promotion of prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding may reduce the risk of atopic eczema risk in adolescence.

Follow-up of the Promotion of Breastfeeding Intervention Trial ( PROBIT ), a cluster randomized trial in 30 Belarusian maternity hospitals and affiliated polyclinics; recruitment of 17 046 healthy term infants took place from June 15, 1996, to December 31, 1997. Data analysis was conducted from May 9, 2016, to April 21, 2017. The primary analytic approach was by modified intention-to-treat.

Spirometry and flexure eczema on standardized skin examination by study pediatricians were the primary outcomes; secondary outcomes were self-reported asthma diagnosis ever, and wheezing and flexural eczema symptoms in the previous year.

A total of 13557 (79.5%) participants were followed up from September 15, 2012 to July 15, 2015. The intervention (7064 [79.7%]) and control (6493 [79.4%]) groups were similar at follow-up (3590 [50.8%] and 3391 [52.2%] male; mean [SD] age, 16.2 [0.6] and 16.1 [0.5] years, respectively).

In the intervention group, 0.3% (21 of 7064) had flexural eczema on skin examination and mean (SD) forced expiratory volume in the first second of expiration / forced vital capacity (FEV 1 / FVC) ratio  z  score was -0.10 (1.82 ), compared with 0.7% (43 of 6493) and 0.35 (1.34), respectively, in the control group.

Inverse intention-to-treat analysis, accounting for clustering by polyclinic , at 54% lower risk of flexural eczema on skin examination was observed in the intervention compared with the control group (odds ratio [OR], 0.46; 95% CI, 0.25 to 0.86).

Self-reported flexural eczema symptoms in the past year (OR, 0.57, 95% CI, 0.27 to 1.18), asthma (OR, 0.76, 95% CI, 0.47 to 1.23), and wheezing in the past year (OR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.37 to 1.18) were less frequently reported in the intervention compared with the control group, but 95% CIs were wide and included the null.

There was no significant difference in FEV 1 / FVC ratio  z  score (β -0.15; 95% CI, -0.76 to 0.45). All results were similar with additional adjustment for baseline characteristics, on instrumental variable analysis, and with multiple imputation among all 17 046 randomized participants.

A breastfeeding promotion intervention reduced flexural dermatitis risk but had no detectable effect on lung function or questionnaire-derived measures of atopic eczema or asthma in adolescence in a setting where atopic eczema and allergies are rare.