Delaying the introduction of food in infants increases the risk of sensitization, research says

Delaying the introduction of food in infants increases the risk of sensitization, research says

According to a recent study by Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) research institute, it was revealed that delaying the introduction of potentially allergenic food in infants might increase the risks of developing sensitization to those foods as soon as they reach the age of 1.

The study focused on finding an articulate understanding regarding the relationship between the timings and patterns of food introduction to the risk of developing food sensitization by the age of one.

The researchers collected the data from 2100 children and found that those infants who avoided the consumption of cow’s dairy product within the first year of their life were four times more likely to develop food allergy to cow’s dairy product in their childhood as soon as they reaches their stage 1 when compared to children who were introduced the cow’s dairy product within the four to six months of their age.

Similarly, the infants who have avoided the use of peanuts and eggs were twice more likely to develop the risk of sensitization as compared to children who have introduced peanuts in their first year of life.

The co – director of the research institute Dr. Malcolm Sears, added that “While not all food – sensitized infants become food allergic, sensitization is an important step on the pathway”. Commenting further Dr. Malcom Sear added that, “food sensitization early in life is associated with an increased risk of wheeze, asthma, eczema and allergic rhinitis in later childhood.”

Also, the first author of the study, Maxwell Tran, a BHSc graduate from McMaster University and an AllerGen trainee mentioned that “Early introduction of eggs before one year of age seemed to be especially beneficial, as it significantly reduced the odds of developing sensitization to any of the three food allergens,”


The study found that in Canada majority of the parents delayed the introduction of potentially allergenic food to their infants. Only three percent of the parents in the study introduced eggs to their children at the age of six and only one percent went on introduce peanuts to their infants and the vast majority of sixty-three percent of parents entirely avoided the introduction of peanuts to their kids during their first year of life.

The study has got much significance since child care is a very critical and sensitive task where parents usually skip some useful practices in their child care period either out of ignorance or being extra careful towards the health of their kids.

This study according to the researcher has been the first observational study in this realm. Also, the study has provided important breakthrough since it shows a shift in the thinking away from the avoidance of potentially allergenic food towards their early introduction to reduce the risks of developing food allergy later on.

The researchers further explained that sensitization is not the same as the allergy but developing sensitization is a pathway of developing allergies later on in the childhood.

However, the immunology and pediatrics of childcare have been substantially the controversial topic but researchers emphasizing the results of their study said that it is a shift and doctors are now increasingly recommending the introduction of potentially allergic food by the age of four to six months.

Mr. Tran said that this shift in thinking should be encouraged and this is way better than keeping the infants away from the nutrients present in these foods to avoid the risk of food sensitization.

However further approval or disapproval of the findings of the study is open to question and further research.


The author is a Medical Microbiologist and healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. She covers all content on health and wellness including weight loss, nutrition, and general health. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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