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Doctors recommend early introduction of peanuts in children's diet: Details

Doctors recommend early introduction of peanuts in children's diet: Details Doctors recommens early introduction of ieanuts for children (Collage: RBC-Ukraine)
Author: Daria Shekina

Many parents don't even consider introducing their little ones to peanut-containing foods, as peanut allergy stands as a leading cause of anaphylaxis and mortality among all food allergies. Meanwhile, doctors recommend introducing potential allergens during early feeding.

RBC-Ukraine shares insights from research on peanut allergies in children.

Sources consulted in the preparation of this material: American Academy of Pediatrics.

What did researchers discover?

Researchers discovered that in 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended not introducing peanuts into children's diets until they reached the age of 3, particularly for infants at high risk of peanut allergy due to family history of such allergies or eczema.

However, by 2008, due to the lack of positive outcomes following this approach, the AAP withdrew this recommendation.

Around the same time, researchers found that the rate of peanut allergy among children from Jewish families in the UK was approximately 10 times higher than among Jewish children in Israel.

It was discovered that children had different diets. Children in the UK rarely consumed peanut products in their first year of life, whereas children in Israel frequently consumed Bamba, a peanut-flavored corn puff snack.

During a study involving 600 children with severe eczema, positive peanut allergy tests, and egg allergies (which increase the risk of peanut allergy), the children were divided into two groups. One group regularly consumed Bamba, while the other group avoided peanut-containing products altogether. The study continued until the children reached 5 years old.

At the age of 5, only 3% of children who consumed peanut products during the study had an allergy compared to 17% of children in the group that avoided peanuts.

What were the study's conclusions?

After the publication of these results, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in the US developed corresponding guidelines for pediatricians and parents, which were approved by the AAP.

Children are divided into three groups:

  • Those with severe eczema and/or egg allergy
  • Those with mild to moderate eczema
  • Those without eczema or food allergies

For the first group, allergy testing for peanuts is recommended. If the result is positive, they should try peanut products for the first time under a doctor's supervision. This decision should be discussed with a specialist beforehand, as these children should start consuming peanut products between the ages of 4-6 months.

Children with mild to moderate eczema do not need testing. They should try peanut products at around 6 months after consulting a doctor.

Children without eczema or food allergies can consume peanut products based on family food preferences.

It's important not to give whole peanuts or chopped pieces to children. Only peanut butter mixed into a puree should be used.

Previously, we talked about six popular myths about milk that people still believe in.