Donít Delay Complementary Food Introduction in Infants to Avoid Food Allergy: Survey

by Dr. Nicy Varghese on  April 18, 2012 at 2:29 PM Health In Focus
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Allergy is expression of hypersensitivity reaction to any foreign objects that is initiated by the immune system. The most common disease form seen due to food allergy is atopic dermatitis and asthma. Early form of atopic dermatitis is seen as eczema or scaly and itchy rashes. Young ones develop various allergic forms when introduced to different food.
Donít Delay Complementary Food Introduction in Infants to Avoid Food Allergy: Survey
Donít Delay Complementary Food Introduction in Infants to Avoid Food Allergy: Survey

A survey was done among the pediatricians and dietitians in British Columbia regarding the complementary food introduction and exposure to food allergy. Opinions were gathered from both groups about ingestion of peanuts and forms of milk other than breast milk in age groups below 1 year. Survey questions were based on recommendations in the 2008 AAP statement on introduction of complementary foods.

The study, published in the journal Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology, also focused on how pediatricians and dietitians counseled parents on the introduction of food and whether there was any difference between advice offered by the two specialists.

Majority of pediatricians and dietitians believed peanuts caused no harm in pregnant or feeding mothers. Breast milk was recommended by both the groups for first four months to avoid atopic dermatitis. If infants showed allergic symptoms to breast milk then pediatricians suggested the use of partially hydrolyzing formula while dietitians preferred hydrolyzing formula to replace breast milk. The third option for both groups was cow's milk.

So, 'with the exception of breastfeeding advice and delay of allergenic foods, pediatricians and dietitians of British Columbia generally agree in their advice and adhere to the 2008 American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines', say the authors.

Therefore, the study reinforced the fact that avoidance of complementary food for the first four to six months of age reduced severe reaction in young children and prevented early gut exposure that can cause sensitization and allergy. First four months of breast-feeding definitely reduced atopic dermatitis. Partially hydrolyzed formula is recommended for infants with breast milk allergy.

The researchers thus concluded that although solid foods (complementary foods) should not be introduced before 4 - 6 months of age, delaying their introduction beyond this period has no significant protective effect on the development of food allergy such as atopic dermatitis.

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Source: Medindia

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