The Effect of an Elimination Diet on Early Childhood Growth in Children with Egg and/or Cow’s Milk Allergies

Şule Büyük Yaytokgil
Hakan Güvenir
Bahar Çuhacı Çakır
Aysun Kara Uzun
Nevra Koç
Hülya Yardımcı
Can Naci Kocabaş
Ersoy Civelek

Abstract

Objective: Eliminating egg and/or cow’s milk during early childhood may affect the growth of food-allergic children. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of elimination diets on anthropometric measurements and diet composition in children allergic to egg and/or cow’s milk.

Materials and Methods: Anthropometric measurements and nutritional data were evaluated in children with cow’s milk and/or egg protein allergy during elimination diets. Their daily calorie, carbohydrate, fat, and protein intakes were analyzed based on a 3-day diet log. Z-scores for weight, height, weight-for-age, and weight-for-height were calculated. The data were compared with pre-elimination values and with those of healthy controls.

Results: The study included 77 food-allergic children and a control group of 50 healthy children. In the patient group, the median age was 14 months and 57.1% (n=44) were male. Age, gender, and z-scores for weight-for-age and height-for-age were similar between the groups. Comparisons with pre-elimination measurements revealed that 18.2% of children with short stature at the time of diagnosis achieved normal height after elimination diets (p=0.001) and 37.4% of the children had increased height z-score. However, weight-forage z-score decreased significantly (p<0.01). Although caloric intake was the same in both groups, the patient group consumed relatively less protein and more fat and carbohydrates.

Conclusion: In elimination diets, even if the calorie intake is adequate, eliminating allergenic food items may cause a decrease in weight without causing malnutrition. The height may improve. Growth should be monitored with age-corrected measurements and on an individual basis.

Keywords

Anthropometric measurements, cows’ milk allergy, egg allergy, elimination diets, food allergy
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