SeaFAC Issues New Guidelines For Parents on Introduction of Peanuts to Help Prevent Peanut Allergy
After years of allergists recommending that parents delay introducing peanuts in an attempt to prevent peanut allergy, the February 2015 LEAP Study results found that “careful” early introduction of allergens could reduce the chance of developing the allergy in certain high-risk kids. To summarize, the study found 13.7 percent of qualified children asked to avoid peanut for 5 years developed a peanut allergy versus only 1.9 percent of kids that added peanut to their diet before their first birthday. These findings offer a complete reversal of conventional thinking, opening up the possibility of parents introducing peanut into the child’s diet before age 12 months, as a preventative treatment for peanut allergy.
“This has been an amazing year for food allergy prevention and treatment research. Although there is currently no cure for food allergies, we’ve learned more this year than we have in the last 15 to 20 years,” according to Dr. Stephen Tilles, Executive Director of ASTHMA Inc. and Executive Committee member for the Seattle Food Allergy Consortium (SeaFAC). “The SeaFAC Executive Committee felt the game-changing nature of LEAP study created a leadership moment for our organization and called for us to create a tool to educate parents on how and when to introduce peanuts into their child’s diet early.”
The LEAP study findings strongly suggest pediatricians and parents need to change course and evaluate the benefit of “careful” early introduction of peanuts, on a case-by-case basis. To help with this process, SeaFAC has issued a new set of parent guidelines to discuss with their pediatrician, based on recently issued recommendations to the allergist community because of the LEAP study.
“SeaFAC issued the guidelines because we wanted to give parents useful information about introducing peanut into their infant’s diet based on the new findings from the LEAP study,” notes Mary Farrington, an allergy specialist at Virginia Mason and SeaFAC Executive Committee. “Again, infants at high-risk for peanut allergy are advised by SeaFAC to seek the guidance of a trained allergist before making any dietary changes.”