Family Medicine is Essential to Driving Early Introduction

By Dr. Michelle Jones, MD, FAFP
Past President, North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians
As family physicians, we are specialists in prevention. And, for us, it’s far more than academic. When we can connect with families in meaningful ways about healthy practices -- and introduce them to positive behaviors -- the benefits are apparent for years and generations to come.
So, if you could prevent new parents from a lifetime of worry about peanut allergies and every piece of food their child puts in his or her mouth, wouldn’t you have that conversation? Of course. I think we all would.
The groundbreaking LEAP study back in 2015 changed the paradigm for how we think about peanut allergies, and most food allergies, really. From LEAP came the NIAID guidance encouraging the early introduction of peanut foods as early as four to six months of age – depending on an infant’s individual risk factors. In the years since, the science continues to grow. In fact, the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 – released last December -- are the latest to encourage us all to pay more attention to what, how and when we introduce peanuts, eggs and other new foods to infants.
I would like to thank the National Peanut Board for partnering with the AAFP Foundation to ensure family doctors have the knowledge and tools we need to champion food allergy prevention. I am committed to working with the board, our foundation and all of you to make the conversation about early feeding a regular step in our well child visits.
Three requests for each of you:
  • If you are attending the AAFP FMX, take a few minutes to dig through all of the valuable resources crafted for you and your families.
  • Watch for much more about early introduction and food allergy prevention in the coming months through AAFP.
  • Most of all, bookmark and share it with new parents in your practice.  It offers providers and families alike a closer look at the science behind early introduction and materials with easy-to-follow tips.
Thank you for all the work you do taking care of our kids. When it comes to peanut allergy prevention, however, act fast. They are growing quickly.

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