US children with milk allergy are at risk for decreased growth, according to recent study results.
Researchers studied 6,189 children aged 2 to 17 years who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and represented a diverse selection of the US population.
A food allergy was reported by 6.3% of children (95% CI, 5.5-7.3), with the most common triggers identified as milk (1.8%; 95% CI, 1.3-2.3), peanut (1.2%; 95% CI; 0.9-1.6) and egg (0.6%; 95% CI, 0.4-0.8). Children who reported milk intake in the past 30 days were excluded, with 48 of the remaining children (1.1%; 95% CI, 0.8-1.6) classified as having cow’s milk allergy.
Children with milk allergy had significantly lower mean weight, height and BMI percentiles compared with children with other food allergies, according to multivariate analysis. Decreased triceps skin folds, an adiposity measurement, also was experienced in children with milk allergy (mean difference, 1.8 mm; 95% CI, 0.55-3.05).
“Children with milk allergy had lower calcium intake on 24-hour recall and trended toward lower vitamin D and total caloric intake compared with those seen in children without milk allergy,” the researchers wrote. “However, adjustment of dietary intake of total calories, protein, fat, calcium and vitamin D did not change our findings of decreased growth measurements in children with milk allergy or adiposity measurements.”
A trend toward lower mean weight, height and BMI percentiles for age was associated with milk avoidance, with children with milk allergy having significantly lower weight and BMI percentiles compared with nonallergic children who were not drinking milk. Children with milk allergy also experienced significantly smaller triceps skin fold measurements compared with nonallergic children who avoided milk (mean difference, 1.85 mm; 95% CI, 0.18-3.52).
“These findings support the need for nutritional supervision, calcium and vitamin D supplementation (where appropriate), and close monitoring of growth for children with milk allergy,” the researchers concluded.
Disclosure: See the study for a full list of relevant financial disclosures.