The 2017 Prevention of Peanut Allergy Guidelines recommend incorporating peanut protein into infants’ diets to prevent peanut allergy. The goal of this study was to explore US caregivers’ awareness, beliefs, practices, and outcomes around peanut introduction.
A parent-report survey was administered between January and February 2021 to a population-based sample of 3062 US parents/caregivers of a child between age 7 months and 3.5 years. The survey evaluated awareness, beliefs, feeding practices, primary care provider (PCP) interactions, and food reactions.
Overall, 13.3% of parents/caregivers reported Prevention of Peanut Allergy Guidelines awareness. Caregivers who reported being white, 30 to 44 years of age, educated, high income, or cared for a child with food allergy or eczema were more likely to be guideline-aware (P < .001). Among US parents/caregivers, 47.7% believed that feeding peanuts early prevented peanut allergy; 17.2% first offered peanut-containing foods before age 7 months and 41.8% did so between ages 7 and 12 months. Peanut introduction occurred earlier among guideline-aware parents/caregivers: 31% offered it before 7 months (P < .001). Overall, 57.8% of parents/caregivers reported discussing peanut introduction with their PCP. PCP counseling was the most common facilitator for peanut introduction before 7 months (odds ratio 16.26 [9.49–27.85]), whereas fear of reactions was the most common reason for delaying peanut introduction beyond 7 months (32.5%). Actual reactions during peanut introduction were reported by 1.4%.
Early peanut feeding practices are gaining traction among US parents/caregivers; however, disparities exist. Future efforts to increase guideline adherence need to address disparities, provide support for medical providers, and educate about the true incidence of reactions.