Association of Breastfeeding with Asthma in Young Aboriginal Children in Canada
BACKGROUND: Few studies have investigated the factors associated with asthma in young Aboriginal children.OBJECTIVE: To characterize the association of demographic, environmental and early life factors with asthma in young Aboriginal children in Canada.METHODS: The 2006 Aboriginal Children’s Survey was conducted among off-reserve Aboriginal children zero to six years of age to obtain information on Aboriginal children’s development and well-being. The prevalence of asthma in Aboriginal children was obtained from the parental report of asthma as diagnosed by a health care professional.RESULTS: The prevalence of reported asthma among off-reserve Aboriginal children zero to six years of age (n=14,170) was 9.4%. Asthma prevalence in both exclusively breastfed children (6.8%) and ever but not exclusively breastfed children (9.0%) was significantly lower than that in nonbreastfed children (11.0%). In the multiple logistic regression analysis, exclusive breastfeeding was protective of asthma compared with nonbreastfeeding (OR 0.59 [95% CI 0.44 to 0.78]). Older age groups, male sex, having two or more older siblings, low birth weight, day care attendance and ear infection were significant risk factors for asthma.CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of asthma among young Aboriginal children zero to six years of age living off reserve was slightly lower than that reported for all other Canadian children. Breastfeeding, especially exclusively breastfeeding, was protective of asthma in Aboriginal children, which is consistent with what has been observed in non-Aboriginal children in Canada. Public health interventions intended for reducing asthma incidence in young Aboriginal children should include breastfeeding promotion programs.