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  • A Parent’s Guide to the LEAP Study on Peanut Allergy Prevention

    By: Jessica Huhn

A Parent’s Guide to the LEAP Study on Peanut Allergy Prevention

By: Jessica Huhn

A Parent’s Guide to the LEAP Study on Peanut Allergy Prevention

By: Jessica Huhn

Thanks to the landmark LEAP study, we now know that introducing babies to peanut early and often significantly reduces their risk of developing a peanut allergy. But how was the LEAP study conducted, what exactly did the study reveal, and what do the findings mean for your family? In this article, we’ll break down everything parents need to know about the LEAP study. 

Learn about the other landmark clinical trials on food allergy prevention: Enquiring about Tolerance (EAT) Study and Prevention of Egg Allergy with Tiny Amount Intake (PETIT) Study

Thanks to the landmark LEAP study, we now know that introducing babies to peanut early and often significantly reduces their risk of developing a peanut allergy. In fact, the LEAP study has inspired leading medical organizations to publish new guidelines for introducing peanut to your baby. But how was the LEAP study conducted, what exactly did the study reveal, and what do the findings mean for your family? In this article, we’ll break down everything parents need to know about the LEAP study. 

The LEAP Study: Overview

  • Over 600 children in the UK, between 4-11 months of age, took part in the LEAP study. 
  • All of the children in the study had severe eczema, egg allergy, or both. Therefore, all participants were at high risk of developing a peanut allergy.
    • The study chose to focus only on babies at high risk for peanut allergy. Severe eczema and egg allergy put a baby at high risk for a peanut allergy.
  • The children were randomly divided into two equal groups, where they were directed to either consume peanut regularly or avoid peanut completely until age 5. 
  • The children in the “consume” group ate at least 6 grams of peanut protein per week, divided into three or more doses per week, until they reached the age of 5. 
    • The peanut protein they consumed was either in the form of Bamba or smooth peanut butter. 

Learn more about the LEAP trial from this 1 minute video from the New England Journal of Medicine:

  

We’ve included a full breakdown of the LEAP study for families below: 

What was the purpose of the LEAP study?

To see if introducing peanuts to babies early and often helps prevent peanut allergy

Who was the study’s lead investigator?

Dr. Gideon Lack (King’s College, London)

Who funded the LEAP study?

The study was supported by grants from organizations including:

  • The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education)
  • The National Peanut Board

The National Peanut Board wasn’t a top funder and couldn’t influence the study design or results, so there was no conflict. 


Also, the LEAP study was peer-reviewed by impartial experts before it was published.

Who took part in the LEAP study?

    • Over 600 children in the UK
  • Starting between 4-11 months of age
  • All at high risk for peanut allergy

What made them high risk for peanut allergy?

Severe eczema, egg allergy, or both

Were any enrolled babies excluded from the study?

Yes. ~9% of children were already excluded at enrollment because they likely already had a food allergy by the time they had started the trial. 


These babies had large wheals (raised red, itchy bumps) when they were exposed to peanut during an initial skin prick test. 

How was the LEAP study conducted?

    • Babies were first given a skin prick test (SPT) to see if they had an existing peanut allergy. 
      • Only babies with a negative SPT, and babies with a positive SPT but very small wheals (1-4mm), moved forward into the study.
    • The children were randomly divided into 2 groups, with equal numbers of babies with positive SPT and negative SPT
  • One group consumed peanut regularly until the age of 5
  • The other group avoided peanut completely until the age of 5

How much peanut did the “consume” group eat? How often? What kind of peanut?

  • At least 6 grams of peanut protein per week, divided into 3+ doses per week
  • In the form of Bamba or smooth peanut butter
  • They followed this dosing until they reached the age of 5

How did the researchers check to see if the children developed a peanut allergy?

Doctors checked the children for peanut allergy three times: 

  •  At 12 months
  • At 30 months
  • At 5 years 

Doctors also checked in with the parents regularly in between these visits. 


At 5 years, the children were tested a final time to see if they had a peanut allergy, with 

  • A single dose of peanut, or
  • A food challenge, where they were given peanut in small, slowly increasing doses. 

What did the results show?

  • Introducing peanut to babies early and often helps prevent peanut allergies
  • Early, consistent peanut introduction reduces peanut allergy risk by over 80%
  • Previous advice to delay peanut introduction is incorrect

Breaking Down the Findings

The results of the LEAP study show that introducing peanut to babies early and often helps prevent them from developing a peanut allergy. 

As the study reports: “Among infants with high-risk [for peanut allergy], sustained peanut consumption beginning in the first 11 months of life, as compared with peanut avoidance, resulted in a significantly smaller proportion of children with peanut allergy at the age of [5 years].”

17% of the children who avoided peanut developed peanut allergy by the age of 5. But only 3% of the children who ate peanut regularly developed a peanut allergy by age 5. Comparing the two groups, there’s an 82.35% difference. 

Results broken down by whether babies had a negative or positive SPT.
“Per-protocol” includes only babies whose parents fully followed the study’s dosing. 

These results showed that introducing peanut to babies before the age of one, and consistently feeding them peanut multiple times per week over several years, reduced their risk of peanut allergy by more than 80%. 

Based on these results, we now know that advice to delay the introduction of peanut for a child’s first few years of life (as was previously recommended by doctors) is incorrect. 

Delaying peanut introduction increases babies' peanut allergy risk, and might even have contributed to the global rise in peanut allergies.

Around 9% of the babies enrolled in the LEAP study had to be excluded from the study because they likely already had a peanut allergy before the study began. (So, they weren’t introduced to peanut early enough for prevention). This further emphasizes the need to start peanut introduction early---the earlier the better.

Life after the LEAP Study: What do the findings mean for your family?

The LEAP study shows that you shouldn’t delay the introduction of peanut to your baby. Delaying peanut introduction actually increases babies’ food allergy risk. 

Rather, to help prevent peanut allergies, it’s crucial to feed your baby peanut early and often, starting before they turn one.

  • Introducing peanut starting as early as 4 months, and before your baby is one year old, reduces their peanut allergy risk by up to 80%.
  • Consistently feeding baby peanut, 2-7 times per week for at least 6 months, is just as important for prevention as starting early. 

Because of the LEAP study’s significant findings, new landmark international medical guidelines for introducing peanut, including guidelines from the AAP, NIH, NIAID, and AAAAI, are based on the LEAP study. You can learn more about these guidelines here. 

Ready, Set, Food! Follows Protocols Used in the LEAP Study 

Ready, Set, Food! makes it easy to follow the LEAP study protocols and international medical guidelines, and safely introduce peanut to your baby early and often. Our systems follow the early, consistent introduction found to be effective in the LEAP trial and recommended by the new medical guidelines. Our pre-measured packets eliminate guesswork and time-consuming preparation. Plus, Ready, Set, Food! also introduces egg and milk, the other two most common allergy-causing foods, to your baby.

And since Ready, Set, Food! easily mixes with breastmilk or formula, you can start introducing peanut, egg, and milk as early as 4 months, even before your baby is ready for solids. Learn why Ready, Set, Food! works for every family’s routine, and why it’s recommended by 1000+ pediatricians. 

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All health-related content on this website is for informational purposes only and does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the advice of your own pediatrician in connection with any questions regarding your baby’s health.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If your infant has severe eczema, check with your infant’s healthcare provider before feeding foods containing ground peanuts.

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