Learn more about how a new study reveals that 4 in 10 primary care doctors are giving outdated advice on food allergy prevention and how the LEAP study shows that you can reduce your baby's risk of developing food allergies.
Clinical guidelines from the NIAID, released in 2017, recommend introducing peanut to babies early and often to reduce your baby's risk of developing food allergies. These guidelines are based on landmark studies, mainly the LEAP (Learning Early About Peanut Allergy) study.
But surprisingly, many doctors still don't know about these guidelines. According to a recent study, 4 in 10 primary care doctors are giving the wrong advice about when to introduce peanut.
In this article, we'll:
- Give an overview of the NIAID guidelines
- Break down the findings from this important study, and what they mean for families
- Provide resources for discussing new allergy prevention guidelines with your doctor
NIAID Guidelines: An Overview
The NIAID guidelines state that:
Infants who have severe eczema, egg allergy, or both are at the highest risk for peanut allergy.
If your infant is in this risk category:
- Introduce them to peanut as early as 4-6 months of age.
- Talk to your doctor before starting early peanut introduction at home. The NIAID strongly recommends that infants in this risk category get tested for peanut allergy in a clinical setting before starting peanut introduction at home.
Infants with mild to moderate eczema are at moderate risk for peanut allergy. If your infant is in this risk category, they should be introduced to peanut around 6 months of age.
Infants with no eczema or egg allergy are at lower risk for peanut allergy. If your infant is in this risk category, they should be introduced to peanut before they turn one.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the NIAID, explains the importance of these new guidelines "For a study to show a benefit of this magnitude in the prevention of peanut allergy is without precedent. The results have the potential to transform how we approach food allergy prevention."
"The results have the potential to transform how we approach food allergy prevention." - Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the NIAID
Study Findings: Many doctors aren't aware of the new guidelines
The lead researchers surveyed primary care doctors at two large academic centers about their knowledge of the NIAID guidelines for early peanut introduction. 210 doctors answered the seven-question survey.
The study reveals that:
- 40% of the doctors incorrectly thought that the earliest age children should be introduced to peanut is over 1 year of age.
- As a result, these doctors are giving families incorrect advice on how to prevent peanut allergies.
- Remember that the NIAID guidelines recommend introducing peanut as early as 4-6 months.
- More than half of the doctors didn't know about the NIAID guidelines.
- The doctors answered only ⅓ of the questions about peanut allergy prevention incorrectly.
- Doctors who said they knew about the guidelines were more likely to answer the knowledge-based questions correctly.
- Doctors who graduated from their residency in the past 5 years were also more likely to answer the knowledge-based questions correctly. (This is likely because they were exposed to current research and guidelines during their training).
About the author: Mike Reynoldson is the CFO/COO for Ready. Set. Food!
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