At what age would you feed your child nuts?
According to a study the best way for children to be protected from peanut allergy is to eat them from a young age.
Scientists at Kings College London believe parents may have been given wrong advice for decades.
Lead investigator Professor Gideon Lack said: “Our findings suggest that this advice was incorrect and may have contributed to the rise in the peanut and other food allergies.”
The report claims that barring nuts and other allergenic foods altogether might actually increase the risk of food allergy.
It suggests parents should give peanut butter or peanut snacks to their children from as young as four months.
Professor Lack added: “This is an important clinical development and contravenes previous guidelines.
Whilst these were withdrawn in 2008 in the UK and US, our study suggests that new guidelines may be needed to reduce the rate of peanut allergy in our children.”
The Leap (Learning Early About Peanut allergy) study compared two groups of children aged four to 11 months.
All of them suffered from severe eczema or egg allergy and were considered at high risk of developing an allergy to nuts.
One group ate a peanut-containing snack food at least three times a week, while peanuts were kept away from the other.
Of the children who avoided peanuts, 17 per cent became allergic to the food by the age of five.
But only 3 per cent of the children who were randomly selected to consume peanut as infants went on to develop a peanut allergy – equivalent to a more than 80 per cent risk reduction.
The NHS says as long as there’s no history of food allergies or other allergies in your family you can give your baby peanuts once they’re six months old – as long as they are crushed up.
For more information and advice visit: http://www.allergyuk.org/