Early Peanut Introduction Reduces Allergy Risk by 71% in Adolescents

Family With Teenage Children Eating Meal In Kitchen

The following is excerpted from an online article posted by News Medical.

Feeding children peanuts regularly from infancy to age five reduced the rate of peanut allergy in adolescence by 71%, even after many years when the children ate or avoided peanuts as desired.

The new findings provide conclusive evidence that introducing peanuts into babies’ diets early will achieve long-term prevention of peanut allergy.

Results from the LEAP-Trio trial are published in the NEJM Evidence by researchers from King’s College London and sponsored and co-funded by the US National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Peanut allergy is rising in Western countries. The prevalence of peanut allergy is about 2% in young children in North America, UK, Western Europe, and Australia. For some, even small amounts of peanuts can lead to a life-threatening allergic reaction. This, as well as conflicting advice, has made parents and caregivers fearful of introducing peanuts into diets.

The study results found that 15.4% of participants from the early childhood peanut-avoidance group and 4.4% from the early childhood peanut-consumption group had peanut allergy at age 12 or older. These results show that regular, early peanut consumption reduces the risk of peanut allergy in adolescence by 71% compared to early peanut avoidance.

Professor George Du Toit, Co-Lead Investigator from King’s College London said: “This is a safe and highly effective intervention which can be implemented as early as 4 months of age. The infant needs to be developmentally ready to start weaning and peanut should be introduced as a soft pureed paste or as peanut puffs.”

The researchers also found that although participants in the LEAP peanut-consumption group ate more peanut throughout childhood than the other participants overall, the frequency and amount of peanut consumed varied widely in both groups and included periods of not eating peanut. This shows that the protective effect of early peanut consumption lasts without the need to consistently eat peanut products throughout childhood and early adolescence.

Source: News Medical

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[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on Crosswalk.com and Religiontoday.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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