KEY POINTS

  • Cow’s milk protein allergy affects 2-6% of children in their first age
  • 50% of them outgrow it within a year
  • 80-90% take up to 5 years to resolve it

A new research points to cow’s milk allergy playing a vital role in preventing kids from attaining their complete growth potential.

The findings of the study conducted by the Division of Allergy and Immunology at Children’s National Hospital have revealed that children and young adults who are allergic to cow’s milk protein might not grow like normal adults. However, there is no clarity regarding such growth trends’ influence on the height and weight of a child.

Food allergy affects one in 13 American children and it can vary from milk to peanuts, eggs, fish, or soybeans. Since there isn’t any cure for such food allergies, the ideal thing to do is removing the major allergen from their diet. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mentions such avoidance of milk due to allergy might be the main cause for missing out on growth efficiency.

Cow’s milk is vital for preventing and treating undernourishment in children. Not only does it promote growth but it contains a specific stimulating effect on linear growth, even among the well-nourished kids. This is why milk is believed to stimulate weight gain as well as height growth among the kids who are undernourished.

The study’s lead author Dr. Karen Robbins, MD opined that most kids will outgrow an allergy to cow’s milk protein in their early childhood and those who don’t happen to be at risk of growth loss when they reach their adolescence stage.

“It remains unclear how these growth trends ultimately influence how tall these children will become and how much they'll weigh as adults," Science Daily quoted Dr. Robbins. “However, our findings align with recent research that suggests young adults with persistent cow's milk allergy may not reach their full growth potential."

The findings of the study are believed to be the first one ever to study the growth patterns in children from their early childhood.

The researchers who sought to study the growth patterns in children included about 191 children during the period November 1994-March 2015. The findings revealed that 111 of them suffered from allergy to cow’s milk and 80 others had nut allergies.