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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Gastroenterology and Hepatology - Pediatrics and Child Health - Public Health and Epidemiology

Probiotic Supplement Use among Young Children in Taiwan: A Prospective Cohort Study
Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Author: Yi-Chun Chen et al.

by Yi-Chun Chen, Yi-Wen Chien, Pei-Jen Chang, Wu-Shiun Hsieh, Pau-Chung Chen

Objectives

The objective of this study is to provide details on probiotic supplement use among young children in Taiwan.

Participants and Methods

This study is based on the Taiwan Birth Cohort Study database. We used questionnaires to collect information on probiotic supplement use among young children from birth to 18 months of age, while also considering their demographic characteristics and other covariates. Low-birth-weight infants, preterm infants, those with birth defects, and those with caregivers who returned incomplete questionnaires were excluded. The final valid sample comprised 16,991 cases.

Results

Approximately half the children received probiotic supplements before the age of 18 months. Only 6.3% of the children received probiotic supplements during the two periods of birth to 6 months and 7 to 18 months. Firstborn children, native mothers, mothers with higher educational levels, higher family income, and parents who lead healthy lifestyles were positively related to probiotic supplement use among children. Young children who were breastfed, with eczema, or with gastrointestinal tract problems were significantly positively associated with probiotic supplement use.

Conclusion

The findings show that probiotic supplement usage among young children is associated with a more socially advantaged circumstance and certain child health factors, such as eczema, diarrhea, and constipation. Parents might use probiotic supplements for prevention or treatment of child diseases. The findings of this research could serve as a baseline for future studies, and provide insight into probiotic supplement use behavior for health professionals caring for infants and young children.

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