Currently in the US, 1 in 13 children suffer from food allergies. At present, there is no cure and strict avoidance of the relevant foods is needed to prevent allergic reactions. Elimination diets are difficult to implement and parents require a lot of support and information. We examined the role of the Registered Dietitian in advising patients and families of food allergic children.
A retrospective review of clinical notes was performed for the first 13 consecutive children who required a dietetic consultation in a newly established pediatric allergy clinic.
Patients were aged 10 months - 9 years (median: 16 months) and were diagnosed with the following food allergies: Cow’s milk: 69.2%, Egg: 62%, Tree Nut: 54%, Peanut: 39%, Wheat: 31%, Soy: 31% , Fruit/Vegetable: 15%, Legume: 8%, Fish: 8%, Sesame: 8%.
The most common questions for the dietitian included: ways to meet nutritional needs following a prescribed allergen-restricted diet (31%), meeting vitamin D and calcium requirements on a milk protein-free diet (23%), suitable oral supplements and recommended serving sizes (14%), appropriate order of solid foods introduction in FPIES (14%), cautionary food ingredient statements (7%), baked milk protein introduction (7%), cross-reactivity risk of milk protein with soy (7%) and cross-reactivity of nuts in retail bakeries (7%).
Dietetic input in the food allergy clinic addresses important issues for children and families including successful avoidance of allergen-containing foods while ensuring optimal nutrition, decreased exposure to high-risk situations and avoidance of allergen cross-contamination.