Children who are allergic to milk are shorter and lighter compared to kids who are allergic to tree nuts or peanuts, according to a study that confirms childhood food allergies can affect growth. The study was conducted by the Children’s National Health System, presented at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology/World Allergy Organization (AAAAI/WAO) Joint Conference, and published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
To determine whether food allergies affect height and weight, researchers conducted growth chart reviews for 191 children who had been seen by a doctor at least once for suspected food allergy. The reviews were done at ages 2 to 4, 5 to 8, and 9 to 12. The researchers compared weight, height, and body mass index (BMI) to averages for kids of the same age and gender in the general population and found that those with a milk allergy were at increased risk for smaller-than-average stature.
The AAAAI says that approximately 6 to 8 percent of children in the United States have a food allergy. According to the CDC, one or more of eight food groups – milk, egg, fish, shellfish, wheat, soy, peanuts, and tree nuts – account for 90 percent of allergies in children.