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Restrictive diets for kids with food allergies may hinder growth and weight
Parents whose children have been diagnosed with food allergies may inadvertently create diets which cut out too many calories, and their children may be underweight and have poorer growth than children not on restrictive diets. According to a study presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting in San Antonio, children with food allergy in the Missouri Department of Health Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Services program had significantly lower weight-for-age (49.5) height-for-age (45.2) and BMI-for-age (61.4) percentiles than children without food allergies. The study examined 1,714 children in the Missouri WIC program who had a physician diagnosis of food allergy. The authors expressed concern that children with food allergy are at risk for lower weight-for-age and height-for-age compared to their peers who don’t have food allergies.  It is unclear if the difference is due to dietary restrictions or increased energy burned trying to fight the allergic inflammation. Further study by the authors is underway to understand whether the differences in growth observed are clinically significant and whether food allergic children have an inflammatory process contributing to differences in growth. 


Abstract Title: Food Allergy and its Impact on Growth: Missouri WIC 2014 – Present

Author: Maya Nanda, MD, ACAAI member


Additional information: While food labeling has helped make avoiding allergenic foods a bit easier, some foods are so common that avoiding them is daunting. A specialized dietitian or nutritionist may be able to help. These food experts can offer tips for avoiding the foods that trigger allergies and help to ensure your child gets all the nutrients you need. Special cookbooks and support groups, either in person or online, for patients with specific allergies can also provide useful information.


The ACAAI is a professional medical organization of more than 6,000 allergists-immunologists and allied health professionals, headquartered in Arlington Heights, Ill. The College fosters a culture of collaboration and congeniality in which its members work together and with others toward the common goals of patient care, education, advocacy and research. ACAAI allergists are board-certified physicians trained to diagnose allergies and asthma, administer immunotherapy, and provide patients with the best treatment outcomes. For more information and to find relief, visit Join us on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.




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