HealthDay News — Less half of parents and caregivers report being told to introduce peanut-containing foods into a child’s diet by 11 months of age to help prevent peanut allergy, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, held from Nov. 4 to 8 in New Orleans.
Christopher Warren, Ph.D., from the Center for Food Allergy and Asthma Research at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues surveyed parents and caregivers of children aged 7 to 42 months about attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors around the introduction of common food allergens. The analysis included responses from 3,062 households.
The researchers found that overall, 58 percent of respondents reported that their child’s primary care provider discussed peanut introduction; this value was 69 percent among parents and caregivers of children with eczema. Of parents who had discussions with primary care providers about peanut introduction, only four in 10 reported receiving the recommendation to introduce peanuts by 11 months of age; only 44.7 percent of respondents said they did introduce peanuts by 11 months. Only 13 percent of parents and caregivers were aware of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease Primary Prevention of Peanut Allergy guidelines.
“Our survey showed that while primary care physicians are discussing the idea of early peanut introduction with parents of infants, they aren’t recommending that most parents begin peanut by 11 months of age,” Warren said in a statement. “We now know that the earlier peanut is introduced, as early as when a child begins solid foods, the better the chance that peanut allergy can be prevented.”