Food allergies affect children's growth

Feb. 26, 2013 at 10:01 AM
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DURHAM, N.C., Feb. 26 (UPI) -- Food allergies in children -- especially if multiple foods are involved -- may affect growth, U.S. researchers say.

Study author Dr. Brian Vickery, a pediatric allergist and immunologist in Durham, N.C., and colleagues at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill reviewed the charts of children ages 1 month to 11 years who had visited outpatient clinics from 2007 to 2011.

From the chart reviews, 245 food allergic children were identified. Height, weight and body mass index percentiles of these food allergic children were compared with 4,584 age-matched healthy children and 205 age-matched children with cystic fibrosis and celiac disease, two chronic childhood disorders associated with growth failure.

The study found after the age of 2, the children with food allergies had lower percentiles for weight and BMI. The researchers then decided to take the research a step further and the number of food allergies was also examined in regard to these growth markers.

"Compared to those children in the sample who had one or two food allergies, those with more than two had lower percentiles for height and weight," Vickery said in a statement. "It suggests the number of food allergies is a factor and a greater number of food allergies translates into a greater number of dietary restrictions."

The study was presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology in San Antonio.

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