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Feeding kids peanut products from infancy until age 5 reduces risk of developing allergies, researchers say

May 30, 2024  13:58

Feeding children peanut products from infancy until the age of five cuts their risk of developing a peanut allergy into early adolescence, researchers say, The Guardian reports.

Children who ate peanut pastes or puffed peanut snacks regularly from four to six months onwards were 71% less likely to have a peanut allergy at age 13 than those who avoided peanuts.

The simple dietary intervention could prevent about 10,000 cases of potentially life-threatening peanut allergies each year in the UK alone, doctors said, and cut global cases by 100,000 annually.

Gideon Lack, professor of pediatric allergy at King’s College London, said decades of advice to avoid peanuts had made parents wary of giving them to their children from such an early age. But he said the evidence was now clear that early exposure to peanuts provided long-term protection against the allergy.

“I strongly recommend that babies are introduced to peanuts by four months if they have eczema and by six months if they don’t have eczema,” Lack told the Guardian. 

According to him, Babies with eczema have a greater risk of developing peanut allergies, probably because traces of the food can penetrate the skin more easily and be targeted by the immune system.

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