Hey Loves! I hope everyone is having a good Wednesday! Everyday at 4:30pm sharp, all the moms in my neighborhood make their way to our local park. It not only gives our children the opportunity to burn off some of their after school energy, but more importantly it’s a chance for the moms to hang out. We watch our children as we gossip about the ups and downs of motherhood, the latest fashion trends, and what is going on in the news. One of the hot topics on the playground this week is the new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine regarding peanut allergies. So I wanted to take the opportunity to expand our playground discussion to the worldwide web and explain exactly what the study revealed and what to take away from it.
About the New Peanut Allergy Study
What exactly is the study and what did it discover? The study was developed after an observation was made that Jewish children in Israel, where peanuts are more commonly used in children’s diets, were less likely to develop a peanut allergy than children living in England. Based on this observation, a trial was conducted following 628 babies who met criteria for being considered high risk for peanut allergy. One group of babies was introduced very early on in life (as early as 4 months) to small amounts of peanut-based products weekly. The other group was told to avoid peanuts until 5 years old. The children of both groups underwent skin tests and they discovered that children who were on a peanut diet were 80% less likely to develop a peanut allergy than the children who had no peanut-based product in their diet.
Why do they feel there has been such a huge rise in food allergies? As pediatricians, we were always taught that the introduction of high risk foods (eggs, milks, seafood, and peanuts) should be delayed to the age of 3 to prevent possible allergies. This recent study, along with some others, has changed the way we are looking at food allergies. They believe that the body should be introduced earlier on as the immune system is developing, so that it becomes familiar with these foods and that it is the avoidance of these foods that is making the body more sensitive to them. Since parents have been instructed to avoid these foods, it has caused an increase in the amount of children suffering from food allergies.
Who is considered high risk for food allergies? Children who have family members with known food allergies or children that suffer from asthma and/or atopic dermatitis.
What should I do with this information? Although this is considered a significant finding from an extremely credible medical journal, this is only one study. It is important to discuss your options with your doctor. If your child is considered high risk for peanuts or other food allergies, talk to your pediatrician about allergy testing and the introduction of these foods in a supervised and controlled setting. Do not just give your child peanuts! Make an appointment to develop a plan for early introduction of these foods.
Food allergies are very scary and dangerous obstacles for parents. We will definitely be having more discussions on FF regarding this topic and providing ways to help keep your children safe. I hope this helps with your journey. See you next Wednesday!