Kids who avoid peanut in infancy and early childhood are 10 times as likely to develop peanut allergy as those who are exposed to the groundnut, according to a new study.
The study has been published in the November issue of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
To reach the conclusion, researchers measured the incidence of peanut allergy in 8,600 Jewish school-age children in the United Kingdom and Israel.
They compared these results with data on peanut consumption collected from mothers of infants age 4 to 24 months.
Prevalence of peanut allergy in the United Kingdom was estimated at 1.85 percent, versus .17 percent in Israel.
"The most obvious difference in the diet of infants in both populations occurs in the introduction of peanut," lead author George Du Toit, MD, FAAAAI, wrote in the article.
At 9 months of age, 69 percent of Israeli children were eating peanut, compared to 10 percent of those in the U.K.
"While this study's findings provide optimism for prevention of peanut allergy in the future, randomized, controlled trials are needed to verify that early introduction of peanut is indeed effective," said Jacqueline A. Pongracic, MD, FAAAAI, vice chair of the AAAAI Adverse Reactions to Foods Committee.