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How allergies to cow's milk affect height and weight in kids

food allergies


Food allergies affect one in 20 children in Australia. Eight food groups account for most of these allergies which are egg, cow’s milk, peanut, tree nuts, seafood, sesame, soy, fish and wheat.

Food allergies have an impact on a child’s growth and development but this relationship is complex. Scientists are not very clear on whether these effects are long lasting or transitory.

The researchers found that children allergic to cow’s milk had lower mean weight and height when compared to kids who were allergic to peanuts or tree nuts.

Allergies due to cow’s milk are particularly important to understand as dairy is one most food choices that children make – at a time when a child’s body is growing and developing.

Scientists have known through previous research that food allergies can result in deficits in height and weight among children.

But they are unclear about the specific food group that affects height and weight the most.

To gauge this, scientists conducted a longitudinal chart review for 191 children.

All children had at least one clinic visit from the time they were aged 2 to 4, 5 to 8 and 9 to12 years old.

During those visits the research team recorded the children’s height and weight and other related conditions such as asthma, eczema and seasonal allergies including the use of inhaled corticosteroids.

They calculated mean differences in height, weight and body mass index (BMI) z-scores and compared it to normal conditions found in kids of the same age and gender in the general population.

The researchers found that children allergic to cow’s milk had lower mean weight and height when compared to kids who were allergic to peanuts or tree nuts.

These growth deficits were prominently seen in 5 to 8 and 9 to 12 year old age ranges.

Further research is needed to understand if teenagers outgrow these deficits and reduce the gap in height and weight caused by cow’s milk allergy.

While food allergies affect the height and weight of children, cow’s milk allergy particularly heightens the risk. These children don’t have milk in their diet which restricts a lot of food choices for growing children. Additionally these children also have allergies to other foods – which could affect their height and weight in the growing years.

Source: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology/World Allergy Organization (AAAAI/WAO) Joint Conference.


Meena Azzollini

Meena is passionate about holistic wellbeing, alternative healing, health and personal power and uses words to craft engaging feature articles to convey her knowledge and passion. She is a freelance writer and content creator from Adelaide, Australia, who draws inspiration from family, travel and her love for books and reading.

A yoga practitioner and a strong believer in positive thinking, Meena is also a mum to a very active young boy. In her spare time, she loves to read and whip up delicious meals. She also loves the smell of freshly made coffee and can’t ever resist a cheesecake. And she gets tickled pink by anything funny!