News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

NZBA urges caution before changing infant feeding guidelines

22 September 2016

Concern over new child allergy claims: NZBA urges caution before changing infant feeding guidelines

New claims that infants should be given peanuts and other potential allergens at the expense of exclusive breastfeeding has raised concern with New Zealand Breastfeeding Alliance (NZBA) – a view that is shared internationally by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF.

“Misinformation given to parents suggesting that exclusive breastfeeding until six months of age is no longer best practice, is premature and incorrect,” NZBA executive officer Julie Stufkens said today.

The Learning Early About Peanut (LEAP) study, led by Professor Gideon Lack at King’s College in London, has led Allergy New Zealand and other health organisations to call for an urgent review of infant feeding guidelines. This includes encouraging the introduction of peanuts and other allergens to infants as young as four months.

Julie Stufkens said that any overaching recommendations need to carefully consider the potential impact on breastfeeding and other child health outcomes for example gastro- disorders, childhood obesity and other imune disorders such as asthma.

“The World Health Organisation recommends infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health,” says Stufkens.

“Thereafter infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods while breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond.”

“While we welcome new research that aims to improve infant nutrition and health, recommendations need to be considered in a wider context – such as the potential risk of obesity when solids are introduced before six months.”

NZBA’s view is reinforced by WHO’s Dr Laurence Grummer-Strawn, who says while the LEAP trial is an important one in terms of understanding the development of peanut allergies it has limitations.

“It does not provide any evidence that introducing peanuts prior to the current recommended age of six months would be of any benefit,” says Dr Grummer-Strawn.

“In fact, over 75 percent of the children in the LEAP study were older than six months of age at enrolment, so the trial cannot tell us anything about consequences of introducing peanuts before four months of age.”

Dr Grummer-Strawn says there are numerous studies demonstrating the advantages of exclusive breastfeeding for six months and these must be considered alongside new evidence.

“A single outcome, such as a peanut allergy, must be considered in the context of many other health outcomes before making any conclusion that infant feeding guidelines should be changed.”

Julie Stufkens, also the industrial nation’s representative on a number of international breastfeeding committees, said UNICEF nutrition experts have also expressed concern in the wake of the LEAP study.

“UNICEF are adamant that existing guidance on exclusive breastfeeding for infants less than six months needs to be put up front when public health or clinical guidance are developed.

“Parents are advised to talk with a health professional before making any decisions that could impact their child’s future health,” says Stufkens.

-ENDS-

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Howard Davis Review: The Minstrel in The Gallery - Sam Hunt's Selected Poems

Perhaps the most striking aspect of Sam Hunt's poetry is its quality of urgent authenticity. Encountering this latest compilation, the reader is immediately struck by its easy accessibility, tonal sincerity, and lack of linguistic pretension ... More>>

A Matter Of Fact: Truth In A Post-Truth World

How do we convincingly explain the difference between good information and misinformation? And conversely, how do we challenge our own pre-conceived notions of what we believe to be true? More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: The Road To Unfreedom

Valerie Morse: Yale professor of history Tim Snyder publishes a stunning account of the mechanisms of contemporary Russian power in US and European politics. In telling this story he presents both startling alarms for our own society and some mechanisms of resistance. More>>

ALSO:

Doing Our Bit: An Insider's Account Of New Zealand Political Campaigning

In 2013, Murdoch Stephens began a campaign to double New Zealand’s refugee quota. Over the next five years he built the campaign into a mainstream national movement – one that contributed to the first growth in New Zealand’s refugee quota in thirty years. More>>

Te Papa: Two Reviews Into Care For Collections

Te Papa will take additional time to consider the best way to deliver its collections care function, including undertaking an independent review into the care of its natural history collections. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland