Pediatric Annals

CME Article 

Food Allergy: Nutritional Considerations for Primary Care Providers

Linda Somers, RD, CPT, LDN

Abstract

With the apparent increase in the prevalence of food allergy among children, pediatricians need to understand how to monitor the nutritional status of these children. Parents are typically reliant on the primary pediatrician to monitor the growth and development of their child especially when the child requires a restricted diet. The role of the allergist is to diagnose and manage the food allergy and to provide initial education and guidance. But the pediatrician, who likely has more frequent contact with the family, may benefit from acquiring more knowledge about nutritional management and potential nutritional deficiencies in order to provide supportive and accurate information. A registered dietitian (RD), who has experience both with children and with food allergy, may be an ideal person for a family to consult, but this option may not be available in all geographic areas. This article discusses assessment of a child’s nutritional status, the nutritional impact of food elimination with special emphasis on cow milk allergy and nutrition intervention strategies for a child identified with poor growth and risk for nutritional deficiencies.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Linda Somers, RD, CPT, LDN, is Senior Pediatric Nutritionist, Clinical Nutrition, Children’s Memorial Hospital. Address correspondence to: Linda Somers, RD, CPT, LDN, 2300 Children’s Plaza #36, Chicago, IL 60614; fax 773-327-5505; e-mail lsomers@childrensmemorial.org.

Ms. Somers has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES

  1. Determine the best methods to determine a child’s nutritional status using anthropomorphic measurements.
  2. Discuss the potential nutritional impact of an elimination diet in a child with confirmed food allergy.
  3. Identify proven nutritional intervention strategies for a child diagnosed with poor growth and nutritional deficiencies.

Abstract

With the apparent increase in the prevalence of food allergy among children, pediatricians need to understand how to monitor the nutritional status of these children. Parents are typically reliant on the primary pediatrician to monitor the growth and development of their child especially when the child requires a restricted diet. The role of the allergist is to diagnose and manage the food allergy and to provide initial education and guidance. But the pediatrician, who likely has more frequent contact with the family, may benefit from acquiring more knowledge about nutritional management and potential nutritional deficiencies in order to provide supportive and accurate information. A registered dietitian (RD), who has experience both with children and with food allergy, may be an ideal person for a family to consult, but this option may not be available in all geographic areas. This article discusses assessment of a child’s nutritional status, the nutritional impact of food elimination with special emphasis on cow milk allergy and nutrition intervention strategies for a child identified with poor growth and risk for nutritional deficiencies.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Linda Somers, RD, CPT, LDN, is Senior Pediatric Nutritionist, Clinical Nutrition, Children’s Memorial Hospital. Address correspondence to: Linda Somers, RD, CPT, LDN, 2300 Children’s Plaza #36, Chicago, IL 60614; fax 773-327-5505; e-mail lsomers@childrensmemorial.org.

Ms. Somers has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES

  1. Determine the best methods to determine a child’s nutritional status using anthropomorphic measurements.
  2. Discuss the potential nutritional impact of an elimination diet in a child with confirmed food allergy.
  3. Identify proven nutritional intervention strategies for a child diagnosed with poor growth and nutritional deficiencies.

With the apparent increase in the prevalence of food allergy among children, pediatricians need to understand how to monitor the nutritional status of these children. Parents are typically reliant on the primary pediatrician to monitor the growth and development of their child especially when the child requires a restricted diet. The role of the allergist is to diagnose and manage the food allergy and to provide initial education and guidance. But the pediatrician, who likely has more frequent contact with the family, may benefit from acquiring more knowledge about nutritional management and potential nutritional deficiencies in order to provide supportive and accurate information. A registered dietitian (RD), who has experience both with children and with food allergy, may be an ideal person for a family to consult, but this option may not be available in all geographic areas. This article discusses assessment of a child’s nutritional status, the nutritional impact of food elimination with special emphasis on cow milk allergy and nutrition intervention strategies for a child identified with poor growth and risk for nutritional deficiencies.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Linda Somers, RD, CPT, LDN, is Senior Pediatric Nutritionist, Clinical Nutrition, Children’s Memorial Hospital. Address correspondence to: Linda Somers, RD, CPT, LDN, 2300 Children’s Plaza #36, Chicago, IL 60614; fax 773-327-5505; e-mail lsomers@childrensmemorial.org.

Ms. Somers has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES

  1. Determine the best methods to determine a child’s nutritional status using anthropomorphic measurements.
  2. Discuss the potential nutritional impact of an elimination diet in a child with confirmed food allergy.
  3. Identify proven nutritional intervention strategies for a child diagnosed with poor growth and nutritional deficiencies.

10.3928/00904481-20080801-09

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