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Afterwards they will be asked to introduce small amounts of other foods – peanut butter, fish, wheat, eggs and sesame. By five months, as well as continuing to be breastfed, the child will be eating these foods twice a week. The babies will be closely monitored over three years.


As well as preventing allergy to those specific foods, the strategy could possibly lead to a reduction in the prevalence of other allergic conditions such as asthma, eczema, and allergic rhinitis.


A total of 1,139 children had been enrolled up until January 31, 2012, against a total recruitment target of 1,302. Results of the study are expected in 2015.


Funding for the study, which is called EAT (“Enquiring About Tolerance”), is being provided by the Food Standards Agency and Medical Research Council. A separate study (LEAP), is looking at the whether early consumption or avoidance of peanut in high risk infants prevents peanut allergy developing.


EAT study recruitment line: Tel. 0800 358 0021.


Find out more about the EAT study: click here. Find out about the LEAP study: click here.


To find out about other research projects, click here


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How infant diet could prevent food allergy

Updated March 2012: Researchers at the Evelina Children’s Hospital in London are testing the hypothesis that the early introduction of certain allergenic foods into infants’ diets may stop them developing allergy to those foods. This is a direct challenge to the counter theory – that it’s early introduction of allergenic foods that somehow causes the problem in the first place.


The team is recruiting babies whose mothers plan to exclusively breast-feed for at least the first three months of life. Any family with a young exclusively breastfed infant is being invited to contact the study team about taking part (contact details at foot of page).


Babies taking part are being recruited from the general UK population and placed at random in one of two groups.


One group with dietetic support is gradually introducing six allergenic foods from three to four months of age alongside continued breastfeeding (the early introduction group). The other is following present UK weaning advice, i.e. aiming for exclusive breastfeeding for around six months (the standard introduction group). This group will not introduce the allergenic foods before six months.


Mothers in the early introduction group are being asked to continue to breastfeed until their child is at least six months. They will also introduce small amounts of first baby rice and then cow’s milk based yoghurt from three to four months of age.

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