Early life nutrition and allergy
In the EuroPrevall project, a pan-European birth cohort was set up that showed infants and young children were mainly allergic to cow’s milk and egg, with allergies being rare in countries like Greece, and much more common in countries like the UK.
In the iFAAM project, a school-age follow up of the EuroPrevall and Baseline birth cohorts confirmed that the vast majority of young European children with confirmed hen’s egg or cow’s milk allergy became tolerant by early school age.
However, other food allergies to peanut or tree nuts persisted, affecting at least 1.4% of children, with rates again apparently varying between countries.
Analysis of dietary patterns in the EuroPrevall birth cohort suggested that an infant diet consisting of high levels of fruits, vegetables, and home-prepared foods is associated with less food allergy by the age of two years.
Since early life nutrition could modify the chance of a baby developing food allergies, studies have been undertaken across the world to discover how the introduction of solid foods might prevent the development of food allergies.
In iFAAM, a pooled analysis of data from four trials confirmed that the early introduction of peanut reduced peanut allergy, but evidence was less clear for other foods like egg.
Analysis of data and samples from the Enquiring About Tolerance (EAT) study showed that early introduction of egg was effective in preventing the development of food allergy in infants at high risk of developing food allergy.
This has significant implications for the new national infant feeding recommendations that are emerging around the world.
- McBride D, Keil T, Grabenhenrich L, et al (2012) The EuroPrevall birth cohort study on food allergy: baseline characteristics of 12,000 newborns and their families from nine European countries
- Schoemaker A A, Sprikkelman A B, Grimshaw K E, et al (2015) Incidence and natural history of challenge-proven cow’s milk allergy in European children – EuroPrevall birth cohort
- Xepapadaki P, Fiocchi A, Grabenhenrich L, et al (2016) Incidence and natural history of hen’s egg allergy in the first 2 years of life-the EuroPrevall birth cohort study
- Grimshaw K E C, Roberts G, Selby A, et al (2020) Risk Factors for Hen’s Egg Allergy in Europe: EuroPrevall Birth Cohort
- Grabenhenrich, L, Trendelenburg, V, Bellach, J, et al (2020) Frequency of food allergy in school-aged children in eight European countries – The EuroPrevall-iFAAM birth cohort
- Grimshaw K E, Maskell J, Oliver E M, et a (2014) Diet and food allergy development during infancy: birth cohort study findings using prospective food diary data
- Grimshaw K E, Maskell J, Oliver EM, et al (2013) Introduction of complementary foods and the relationship to food allergy
- Roberts G, Grimshaw K, Beyer K, et al (2019) Can dietary strategies in early life prevent childhood food allergy? A report from two iFAAM workshops