Early solid foods tied to lower peanut allergy risk

Amy Norton

Infants with a family history of allergies might be less likely to develop a peanut allergy if they start solid foods before the age of four months, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that among 2- and 3-year-olds whose parents suffered from allergies, those who were started early on solid foods or cow’s milk were about five times less likely to be sensitized to peanuts.

“Sensitized” means that a child has immune-system antibodies directed at a potential allergen — in this case, peanut proteins — and is at increased risk of having a full-blown allergy to that substance.

Still, the findings do not prove that early introduction of “complementary” foods prevents peanut allergies, said Christine Joseph, the lead researcher on the study and an epidemiologist at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit.

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