(HealthDay News) – Delayed gluten introduction and increased length of breastfeeding are associated with increases in the risk of celiac disease (CD), according to a study published online Oct. 7 in Pediatrics.

Ketil Størdal, MD, PhD, from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in Oslo, and colleagues utilized data from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study involving 107,000 children to assess the effect of age of gluten introduction on the risk of CD. The Norwegian Patient Register was used to verify CD identified by questionnaires. Time of gluten introduction and length of breastfeeding were reported monthly by the mothers.

The researchers used data from 82,167 children in the analyses, of whom 324 had CD. For infants with gluten introduction at age 5–6 months, CD was diagnosed in 3.68/1,000, compared with 4.15/1,000 with late (>6 months) and 4.24/1,000 with early (≤4 months) gluten introduction. Delayed gluten introduction correlated with an increased risk of CD (adjusted odds ratio, 1.27; P=0.045), after adjustment for child’s age and gender, breastfeeding, and maternal CD. There was also an increased CD risk associated with breastfeeding >12 months (adjusted odds ratio, 1.49; P=0.046).

“We found an increased risk of CD in children introduced to gluten after 6 months and a higher risk in children breastfed after 12 months age,” the authors write.

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