For years, parents have been told to withhold peanut products from their children until the age of three. In a total flip-flop, the NIH has issued new guidelines recommending that babies be fed peanuts early in their lives to prevent the onset of dangerous allergies.
It now appears that the peanut guidelines put out by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in 2000 were a colossal mistake. At the time, parents were told to refrain from feeding peanuts and peanut products to their children until the age of three, to avoid life-threatening allergic reactions—but this injunction seems to have backfired. Over the past two decades, the prevalence of peanut allergies in the United States has quadrupled, growing from 0.4 percent in 1997 to 1.4 percent in 2008, and to more than two percent in 2010. It has become the leading cause of food-related anaphylaxis and death in the United States.