The relationship between parental atopy, breast-feeding, early solid food diet and the rate of eczema was studied in a birth cohort of 2-year-old children. Rates of eczema varied significantly with parental atopy and solid feeding: children of atopic parents given solid food during the first 4 months had over two-and-a-half times the rate of eczema of children not given solid food and who had non-atopic parents. Further, rates of eczema increased in almost direct proportion to the number of different types of solid food that the child had been given during the first 4 months. Breast-feeding had no significant effect on rates of eczema.
The results suggest that both parental atopy and diversity in early diet are factors which contribuie towards rates of childhood eczema.