Primary prevention of allergic disease through nutritional interventions

Background: Delaying the introduction of allergenic foods for the prevention of allergy is a controversial topic. In 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended delaying highly allergenic foods for infants with a family history of allergy. However, allergy rates continued to rise. In 2008, the AAP issued a new report indicating there was no evidence to support delaying allergenic foods. Currently, results from intervention studies have not been published (there are only observation studies), so the evidence either way is weak.

Highlights: This article was written by the Adverse Food Committee of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAIA). The observational evidence is summarized.  The AAP position on not delaying allergic food is supported. The article furthers the discussion with more detailed directions on how complimentary foods should be introduced and situations when the family should be referred to an allergist for an individualized plan (e.g. an infant with severe atopic dermatitis or established food allergy).

Allergy prevention and dietary restriction during pregnancy/lactation/breast feeding and the selection of infant formula are also summarized.

Application to Dietetic Practice: This article should be read by all health care professionals that that advise the public on introduction of complementary foods.

Web Link (the AAAIA may also e-mail this article without charge)

Posted in: Spring2013-Research