Health Scares in the News Part 3

Take two of America’s greatest health obsessions – child safety and food. Mix them together and you come up with the perfect scare: food that is making kids sick. Long gone are the days when providing a balanced diet of healthy foods was considered the best approach to child nutrition. Now, any food could end up on the “banned” list, often with little or no evidence that it is actually causing harm. Whole grains, nuts, eggs, berries, dairy and other supposed building blocks of a good meal are all suspected of exacerbating any variety of problems from eczema to behavioral disorders.

Food Allergy Rates Exploding!

Or are they? The data cited in this WebMD article was based on surveys of parents, not on actual clinical allergy testing. The fact is that delayed or mild but chronic allergic reactions to food (as opposed to immediate reactions such as hives) are very difficult for a layperson to accurately link to a specific food. There’s also no way to know if the rates of childhood allergies are increasing since this is the first study of its kind and scope ever done.

Parents who are desperate for answers to chronic childhood ailments are pointing the finger at food. It gives them a sense of control and hope. They think “If I can just cut this food out of my child’s diet, they will feel better”. It’s an understandable response that may have unintended consequences. Elimination diets are all the rage. Parents are cutting out whole food groups from their child’s diet in an attempt to curb any number of symptoms that are not necessarily linked to food allergies at all.

Why is This a Problem?

Today, many pediatricians are actually concerned that kids are suffering from malnutrition because parents fear food allergies that aren’t present. Since childhood nutrition is essential for good health throughout an individual’s life, parents may actually be doing more harm than good by taking extreme measures to restrict their child’s diet. This doesn’t mean elimination diets have no place in the diagnosis and treatment of allergies. However, this is an approach that should only be used under the guidance of a physician to ensure that appropriate nutrition is maintained.

Tags: Health and Beauty