I opined a while back that parents do way too much worrying and go way overboard in keeping certain foods away from their children, lest they get allergies. It was my contention that the restrictions on a wee one's diet are actually more likely to doom them to food allergies. And now, there's research to back up my belief. A new study reported on by the AP contradicts the widespread assumption that consumption of peanuts or peanut-containing products in infancy creates a risk of peanut allergies. "Our study findings raise the question of whether early introduction rather than avoidance of peanuts in infancy is the better strategy for the prevention of peanut allergy," said researchers in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. The study compared the prevalence of peanut allergy and diet histories of 5,171 Jewish children from the United Kingdom and 5,615 Jewish children from Israel. The major finding: The U.K. children had a 10-fold higher incidence of peanut allergy than those from Israel. The researchers said the most obvious difference in the diets of infants in the two groups was the introduction of peanuts. Nearly 90 percent of infants in Israel get peanuts in some form by 9 months of age, compared to just 10 percent in the U.K. Also, the Israeli mothers consumed a much higher level of peanuts during pregnancy. The researchers conclude that recommendations to avoid peanuts in early infancy could be behind the increase in peanut allergies in the U.K., Australia and the United States. An official with a panel on food allergies from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology says more studies are needed. But in the meantime, my advice to parents: Go nuts.
Labels: Life in General