• Project status: Active

The EarlyNuts Study measured changes to infant feeding practices following new recommendations for food allergy preventions and whether this has helped reduce the prevalence of food allergy.


Australia has the highest reported rates of childhood food allergy in the world with one in 10 infants diagnosed before age one.

Infant feeding guidelines were changed in 2016 to the recommended food allergy prevention strategy which introduces allergenic foods such as smooth peanut butter, cooked egg, dairy and wheat products in the first year of life.

The EarlyNuts Study involved 1933 infants who were 12 months old when recruited between 2017-2019. The study aimed to determine whether the 2016 infant feeding guidelines helped reduce the rate of food allergy.

So far, Population Allergy group researchers have found 88 per cent of infants were eating peanut before age one in 2017-2019, compared to only 28 per cent 10 years prior. Although this was an excellent response to the new guidelines, EarlyNuts found only a small reduction in infants with peanut allergy – from 3.1 per cent to 2.6 per cent. Further results published in 2023 also showed 1.4 per cent of 12-month-olds have a cashew allergy and 1.3 per cent a cow’s milk allergy.

This meant that more work was needed to help prevent peanut and other common food allergies and the next phase of the EarlyNuts Study is designed to do just that.

EarlyNuts Study six-year-old follow-up

We are conducting a follow-up study to help understand how many children still have food allergy and whether changes to the infant’s diet have helped prevent food allergy up to school age. This phase of the study will also assess whether changes to infant feeding practices have affected other health outcomes, such as asthma and child growth. 

Information for participants

When children already enrolled in EarlyNuts turn six, parents and caregivers will be invited to complete a questionnaire about their child’s diet, allergy and respiratory history, their growth and development. Some children might also be invited to have a free allergy assessment at The Royal Children’s Hospital or during a home visit.

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