Diet may affect the development of asthma. We investigated if asthma or atopy outcomes at 8 years of age were associated with long-term dietary exposure, and whether associations were different for consumption at early or later age.

The PIAMA birth cohort at baseline enrolled 4,146 participants, who were followed up to 8 years of age. Dietary intakes of interest were fruit, vegetables, brown/wholemeal bread, fish, milk, butter and margarine. Associations between food intake at early (2–3 years) and later (7–8 years) age, and long-term intake and asthma and atopy at 8 years were calculated by logistic regression.

Complete longitudinal dietary data for at least one of the food groups were available for 2,870 children. Fruit consumption at early age was associated with reduced asthma symptoms (OR per 1 consumption-day/week increase 0.93 95% CI 0.85–1.00). Long-term fruit intake was inversely associated with asthma symptoms (OR 0.90; 95% CI 0.82–0.99) and sensitization to inhalant allergens (OR 0.90; 95% CI 0.82–0.99). We found no consistent associations between diet and outcomes for other foods.

This study indicates no consistent effects of increased early or late consumption, or long-term intake of certain foods on asthma and atopy in 8-year-olds, with a possible exception for fruit.