Background: Poor growth and inadequate nutrient intake by food allergic children have been suggested, particularly for children avoiding milk.
Objective and hypotheses: To investigate the impact of a dairy-free diet on the final stature of IgE-mediated Cow Milk Allergy (IgE-CMA) young adults.
Method: Anthropometric data was measured in 60 IgE-CMA patients (20.4±3.4 years old, 26 males (43%)) and 36 volunteers without IgE-CMA (control group, 22.5±4.2 years old, 15 males (42%)). All of them were at least 2 years post pubertal, as classified by Tanners Stage 5. Age- and gender-specific SDSs and percentiles were determined according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention growth charts. Nutrient intake assessment was based on 24 h dietary recall and presented as percent of dietary reference values (DRIs). Individuals with conditions or treatments affecting bone metabolism or growth, were excluded.
Results: Height (cm) and height-SDS were significantly reduced in CMA subjects when compared to controls (164.8±8.4 vs 168.5±7.8, P=0.03; −0.56±0.9 vs −0.04±0.7, P=0.004). An abnormal distribution of height-for-age was noted in the CMA group, as compared to the controls (49% vs 17% were categorized as less than the 25th percentile, 18% vs 3% were categorized as < the 10th percentile, and 10% vs 0% were categorized as < the 5th percentile). In addition, height-SDS in CMA patients was significantly lower than their predicted height (mid-parental target height, MPH) (P<0.0001). Δheight-MPH in CMA patients and controls were −3.6±5.2 and −0.60±5.2 cm respectively, P=0.01. The incidence of subjects consuming less than 67% of the DRI was greater in the CMA group, as compared to controls.
Conclusion: Individuals with CMA are at risk for not reaching their growth potential. Growth monitoring and appropriate dietary intervention may avoid nutritional deficiencies and growth retardation in these patients.