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More Parents Are Introducing Peanuts Early

Guideline awareness and primary care provider encouragement are significant drivers of early introduction

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, July 31, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Early peanut feeding practices are gaining traction among U.S. parents/caregivers, according to a study published online July 21 in Pediatrics.

Waheeda Samady, M.D., from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues evaluated the awareness, beliefs, and feeding practices among U.S. caregivers regarding the 2017 Prevention of Peanut Allergy (PPA) Guidelines. The analysis included survey responses from 3,062 U.S. parents/caregivers of a child between the ages of 7 months and 3.5 years.

The researchers found that 13.3 percent of parents/caregivers were aware of the PPA Guidelines. Guideline awareness was significantly higher among caregivers who reported being White, being 30 to 44 years of age, being educated, having a high income, or caring for a child with a food allergy or eczema. Just under half of parents/caregivers (47.7 percent) believed that feeding peanuts early prevented peanut allergy, with 17.2 percent first offering peanut-containing foods at younger than 7 months and 41.8 percent doing so between ages 7 and 12 months. Peanut introduction occurred significantly earlier among guideline-aware parents/caregivers. Primary care physician counseling was the most common driver of peanut introduction before 7 months (odds ratio, 16.26).

“Early peanut feeding practices are gaining traction amongst U.S. parents/caregivers; however, disparities exist,” the authors write. “Future efforts to increase guideline adherence need to address disparities, provide support for medical providers, and educate about the true incidence of reactions.”

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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