A new study conducted by researchers from the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology explored one way that parents may be able to reduce the risk of egg allergies in their children. According to their findings, introducing eggs during infancy and making them a frequent part of kids’ diets may help lower the risk of developing an allergy.
“Egg allergy is the second most common food allergy throughout the world,” said researcher Dr. Xiaozhong Wen. “Current evidence suggests that early introduction of egg during infancy, followed by consistent and frequent feedings, seems protective against development of egg allergy. We are still investigating optimal timing of infant egg introduction and frequency of feeding.”
Minimizing risk of allergy
For the study, the researchers analyzed data from more than 2,200 parents enrolled in the Infant Feeding Practice Study II. Parents answered survey questions about when they first introduced eggs to their babies, how often their children were eating eggs, and any type of allergy development through the first six years of life.
Ultimately, the researchers learned that getting infants to eat eggs before their first birthdays was associated with a lower risk of allergies later in childhood. The team found that infants who ate more eggs early in life had an even lower risk of developing an allergy; the opposite was also true -- kids who developed an allergy at one or six years old weren’t eating eggs as often in their first year of life.
Of the parents who had their infants eat eggs from a young age, the risk of an allergy was under 1% for both one- and six-year-olds. Just 0.5% of parents reported an egg-related allergy within the first year of life, and that percentage only went up to 0.8% by the time the participants were six years old.
While the researchers plan to do more work in this area to better understand how food allergies impact kids, they hope these findings highlight some of the benefits associated with an early introduction to eggs.