Exclusive and prolonged breast-feeding during infancy can reduce the risk of eczema in teenagers, according to research published in JAMA Pediatrics.

“WHO recommends between 4 and 6 months of exclusive breast-feeding to aid prevention of allergy and associated illnesses,” Carsten Flohr, MD, PhD, from the Unit for Population Based Dermatology Research at St. John’s Institute of Dermatology, the division of genetics and molecular medicine at King’s College London and Guy’s & St. Thomas’ National Health Service Foundation Trust, said in a press release. “Our findings add further weight to the importance of campaigns like the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, which is tackling low rates of breast-feeding globally.”

Flohr and colleagues enlisted study pediatricians to conduct spirometry and examine flexural eczema on standardized skin. Additionally, the researchers assessed if participants had any self-reported asthma diagnosis, as well as wheezing and flexural eczema symptoms in the previous year.