As many as 32 million Americans have food allergies, and the number is rising. As people become more aware of this potentially life-threatening disease, many parents and caregivers wonder: What can I do to prevent food allergies in my newborn child?
Shifting Advice on Early Introduction
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention report that between 1997 and 2011, the prevalence of food allergy in U.S. children increased by 50 percent. During this time, in 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended delaying the introduction of commonly allergenic foods to children at higher risk for food allergy. Unfortunately, this recommendation wasn't based on clear scientific evidence. Now, the early introduction of top food allergens is a widely accepted practice. Consult with your pediatrician to learn more about early allergen introduction.
LEAP Study Results Support Introducing Peanut Foods Early
Peanut allergy is now the nation’s most common childhood food allergy, affecting 1.6 million U.S. children. The far-reaching results of the LEAP study, a groundbreaking study supported by FARE, show how parents, caregivers and health care providers can fight this epidemic and prevent many cases of peanut allergy.
New Guidelines for Peanut Introduction
Following the introduction of the LEAP study results in 2015, guidelines endorsing the early introduction of peanut food to infants were issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health. Learn how to evaluate your babies risk for peanut allergy and when to introduce peanut foods into their diet.
What about other allergens beyond peanut?
For other common food allergens, the benefits of early introduction aren’t as clear-cut as peanut, but evidence is building that early introduction of egg may prevent at least some high-risk babies from developing egg allergy.