Dietary intervention for preventing food allergy in children

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Abstract

Purpose of review

In the past decade, food allergy has been increasingly recognized as an important public health issue. The role of maternal and infant diet in the development of food allergy has been a major focus of research throughout this period. Recently, research in this area has moved from observational studies to intervention trials, and the findings from these trials have started to influence infant feeding guidelines. In this article, we review recent studies of dietary interventions for preventing food allergy, summarize current knowledge and discuss future research directions.

Recent findings

The latest result from an intervention trial shows that introduction of peanut in the first year of life reduces the risk of peanut allergy in high-risk infants. A systematic review and meta-analysis of intervention trials also suggests a protective effect of egg introduction from around 4 to 6 months of age for reducing the risk of egg allergy, with most studies conducted in high-risk infants. Despite several intervention trials involving modifications to the maternal diet, the effect of maternal diet during pregnancy and lactation in preventing food allergy remains unclear.

Summary

Earlier introduction of allergenic foods is a promising intervention to reduce the risk of some food allergies in high-risk infants. Further work is needed to improve knowledge of how to prevent food allergy in the general population.

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