WEDNESDAY, July 13, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Guideline-recommended early peanut introduction in Australia has not been associated with a statistically significantly lower or higher prevalence of peanut allergy, according to a study published in the July 5 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Victoria X. Soriano, Ph.D., from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Parkville, Australia, and colleagues compared changes over time in two population-based cross-sectional samples of infants aged 12 months, recruited 10 years apart. Data were included for 1,933 infants in 2018 to 2019 and 5,276 in 2007 to 2011.

The researchers observed an increase in the proportion of infants with East Asian ancestry over time, which is a risk factor for food allergy. Peanut allergy prevalence was 2.6 percent in 2018 to 2019 compared with 3.1 percent in 2007 to 2011 after standardizing for infant ancestry and other demographic changes (difference, 0.5 percent; P = 0.26). Among infants of Australian ancestry, earlier age of peanut introduction was associated with a lower risk for peanut allergy in 2018 to 2019 (adjusted odds ratios, 0.08 and 0.09 for age 12 months versus age 6 months or younger and for age 12 months versus age 7 months to less than 10 months, respectively); no significant association was seen for infants of East Asian ancestry.

“Given the potential for benefit and the low risk of harm, the results of this important study should not dissuade clinicians from following current consensus guidance that recommends early peanut introduction for infants,” write the authors of an accompanying editorial.

Several authors from the study and the editorial disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

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