By KATIE KINDELAN, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — As many as two-thirds of pediatricians in the United States do not follow the newest guidelines about how to introduce peanuts to children for allergy prevention, according to a new report.
The report, published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that 93% of pediatricians are aware of the new guidelines, which were released in 2017 by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
But less than 30% of pediatricians are following the guidelines in full, according to the report.
The 2017 guidelines separated babies into three groups, those with severe eczema and/or an egg allergy, those with mild to moderate eczema and those who don’t have any eczema or food allergy.
The guidelines then provided recommendations for how to introduce peanuts to infants in each group, from testing those with severe eczema for peanut allergy to allowing infants without any eczema or food allergy to be introduced to peanut products based on their family’s cultural practices and preferences.
The findings of the new report suggest that pediatricians may not be communicating those guidelines with parents, which could increase the number of infants in the U.S. with peanut allergies.
“This is a really important discussion that needs to be had between parents and pediatricians,” Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News chief medical correspondent, said Thursday on “Good Morning America.” “Parents of babies in this age group should talk to their pediatrician.”
“This is not something you wing and DIY it at home,” she said of introducing peanuts to babies. “If a baby has eczema or egg allergies or other food allergies, you definitely want to have this discussion with a pediatrician.”
Food allergies affect one in 13 children in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Among children with food allergies, peanut allergy is the most common.
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