The study will be presented at the European Respiratory Society's (ERS) Annual Congress in Amsterdam on Sept. 25, 2011.
The study aimed to assess whether fatty acids found in dairy products could protect against the development of allergic diseases in children.
The researchers assessed milk and dairy intake during pregnancy and monitored the prevalence of asthma and allergic rhinitis using registries and questionnaires in the Danish National Birth Cohort.
The results showed that milk intake during pregnancy was not associated with increased risk of developing asthma and it actually protected against asthma development.
However, women who ate low-fat yogurt with fruit once a day were 1.6-times more likely to have children who developed asthma by age 7, compared with children of women who reported no intake. They were also more likely to have allergic rhinitis and to display current asthma symptoms.
The researchers suggest that non-fat related nutrient components in the yogurt may play a part in increasing this risk. They are also looking at the possibility that low-fat yogurt intake may serve as a marker for other dietary and lifestyle factors.
Ekaterina Maslova, lead author from the Harvard School of Public Health, who has been working with data at the Centre for Fetal Programming at Statens Serum Institut, said: "This is the first study of its kind to link low-fat yogurt intake during pregnancy with an increased risk of asthma and hay fever in children.
This could be due to a number of reasons and we will further investigate whether this is linked to certain nutrients or whether people who ate yogurt regularly had similar lifestyle and dietary patterns which could explain the increased risk of asthma."