Children with food allergies may be smaller and lighter

In a study published in Pediatric Allergy and Immunology on Line (June 2010) Dr Antoine Deschildre and colleagues at Jeanne de Flandre Hospital in Lille, France, assessed 96 four-year-old children with confirmed food allergies. Each was matched with another child the same age and sex but free of food allergies.

When they looked at the children's weight-for-age and height-for-age the average figures in the food allergy group tended to be lower, although still normal.

Nine children with food allergies had a weight-for-age score that was more than two standard deviations below the median, or midpoint, for their age and sex - compared with none of the allergy-free children. Similarly, seven food-allergic children had a height-for-age score that was two standard deviations below the median, versus two allergy-free children.

However, there were no significant differences between the two groups as far as calorie, protein and calcium intake. Indeed, children with food allergies tended to get more vitamin A and E than their peers.

The reasons for the differences are not clear although the researchers speculate that persistent intestinal inflammation in children with food allergies may reduce their nutrient absorption although whether that is in fact the case is unknown.

Courtesy of Reuters

First published in July 2010

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