Breastfeeding associated with higher lung function in African American youths with asthma

Sam S. Oh, Randal Du, Andrew M. Zeiger, Meghan E. McGarry, Donglei Hu, Neeta Thakur, Maria Pino-Yanes, Joshua M. Galanter, Celeste Eng, Katherine Keiko Nishimura, Scott Huntsman, Harold J. Farber, Kelley Meade, Pedro Avila, Denise Serebrisky, Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, Michael A. Lenoir, Jean G. Ford, Emerita Brigino-Buenaventura, William Rodriguez-CintronShannon M. Thyne, Saunak Sen, Jose R. Rodriguez-Santana, Keoki Williams, Rajesh Kumar, Esteban G. Burchard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective: In the United States, Puerto Ricans and African Americans have lower prevalence of breastfeeding and worse clinical outcomes for asthma compared with other racial/ethnic groups. We hypothesize that the history of breastfeeding is associated with increased forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) % predicted and reduced asthma exacerbations in Latino and African American youths with asthma. Methods: As part of the Genes-environments & Admixture in Latino Americans (GALA II) Study and the Study of African Americans, asthma, Genes & Environments (SAGE II), we conducted case-only analyses in children and adolescents aged 8–21 years with asthma from four different racial/ethnic groups: African Americans (n = 426), Mexican Americans (n = 424), mixed/other Latinos (n = 255), and Puerto Ricans (n = 629). We investigated the association between any breastfeeding in infancy and FEV1% predicted using multivariable linear regression; Poisson regression was used to determine the association between breastfeeding and asthma exacerbations. Results: Prevalence of breastfeeding was lower in African Americans (59.4%) and Puerto Ricans (54.9%) compared to Mexican Americans (76.2%) and mixed/other Latinos (66.9%; p < 0.001). After adjusting for covariates, breastfeeding was associated with a 3.58% point increase in FEV1% predicted (p = 0.01) and a 21% reduction in asthma exacerbations (p = 0.03) in African Americans only. Conclusion: Breastfeeding was associated with higher FEV1% predicted in asthma and reduced number of asthma exacerbations in African American youths, calling attention to continued support for breastfeeding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)856-865
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Asthma
Issue number8
StatePublished - Sep 14 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Asthma
  • Hispanics
  • breastfeeding
  • exacerbations
  • genetic admixture
  • lung function
  • minority

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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