There have been a few studies published in the last few years that suggest that children who have food allergies may be shorter than their healthy counterparts. Those who have multiple food allergies or milk based allergies are the most greatly affected.

A new study has been published this month that states that participants who have milk allergies may be at greater risk of being shorter and not reaching their potential height. As it stands currently, there is no one distinct cause of reduced growth rates in individuals with food allergies, but there are a few schools of thought.

No one knows why kids with food allergies are shorter.

The lack of growth could be attributed to reduced intake of nutrients that are required to grow properly. This new study found that their participants with a milk allergy consumed significantly less amounts of protein, Vitamins A, B-12, and riboflavin, and 5 essential minerals including calcium. Because milk is a source of all of these nutrients, is possible that the lower intake of these nutrients are related to their inability to consume milk.

There are also theories being tested that children with food allergies may have decreased ability to absorb some nutrients, or that these children may burn more calories due to their condition, causing them them to have higher nutrient requirements. Any or a combination of all three theories, could explain why it seems that children with allergies to cow’s milk don’t grow as quickly.

However, there is very little published research that speaks to the accuracy of the theories. So, we will have to wait for new research to be conducted to determine exactly why this lack of growth is occurring. However, there are some things that we can take from this new research.

Most importantly, children with allergies may have a hard time getting the nutrition that they require to grow to their full potential. This is a problem that aligns with the main mission at FEI, and a problem that we are always working to address, with the result being a healthier (and possibly taller) future generations.  

Flammarion S, Santos C, Guimber D, Jouannic L, Thumerelle C, Gottrand F, Deschildre A. Diet and nutritional status of children with food allergies. Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2011; 22: 161–165.
Jensen, Vagn Braendholt, et al. “Bone Mineral Status in Children with Cow Milk Allergy.” Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, vol. 15, no. 6, 2004, pp. 562–565.
Mehta, Harshna et al. “Growth and nutritional concerns in children with food allergy” Current opinion in allergy and clinical immunology vol. 13,3 (2013): 275-9.

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