New Study Suggests Introducing Peanuts Early Could Prevent Allergy Later

Nearly 15 years ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics advised parents of children at risk of developing peanut allergies to avoid peanut products completely until age 3. Those recommendations were revised in 2008 to state that there is no evidence that avoidance of these foods would help to prevent allergies.

A new study published in the “New England Journal of Medicine” goes even further to suggest introducing peanut products to infants can actually prevent the development of a peanut allergy as a child gets older.

The study, held in London, followed over 500 patients aged 4 to 11 months old over the course of 5 years. Half of the participants were fed a diet rich in peanut protein, while the other half were told to avoid peanuts entirely. Those who consumed peanut products were 80% less-likely to develop a peanut allergy.

It’s estimated that nearly 400,000 school-aged children in the United States currently have a peanut allergy. In an interview with CNN, Dr. Lee Tak Hong of the Allergy Centre of the Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital said that this study could result in major changes to current public health guidelines.

Paul Mathieson (examiner.com)  knows that, currently, the World Health Organization recommends the avoidance of all peanut products if you are allergic. This study suggests the complete opposite which means all health guidelines would have to be re-evaluated.

USDA Gets Veggies to Cafeteria to Fight Obesity

Recently, the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) has announced the roll-out of grants worth $5 million. These will help fund various programs, which aims in creating a connection between the school cafeterias and local farmers, increasing the children’s access to nutritious foods. The grants have created over 80 projects all over United States.

Although the program “Food to School” existed since 1996, the entire country is still in the middle of an obesity epidemic, which was fueled by easy access to high sugar, high salt, and cheap foods. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) reported that in the last 30 years, the obesity rate amongst children has doubled and quadrupled amongst adolescents. In a public health space, the topic of concern is the excessive weight gain amongst children and adolescents and its adverse health effects, which include diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

Next year, the Congress will make a decision whether to renew the legislation, Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act. Brian Torchin believes that they probably will. It authorizes the Farm to School program. Currently, an increasing chorus of activists and GOP law makers has spoken against the said legislation.

Regardless of the result, the rise of the Farm-to-School program shows the change in mindset amongst those who has brought forth these health programs, which address the socioeconomic factors that caused obesity epidemic.