Researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore followed 191 patients. One hundred and eleven had cow’s milk allergy, while 80 had peanut or tree nut allergies. They were tracked during at least three clinic visits at the ages of 2 to 4, 5 to 8 and 9 to 12. By the time they were pre-teens, the children with milk allergy had lower weight and height than those with the other two allergies. There was no difference in body mass index.
“This is important because early adolescence is a time of most rapid growth. And children who are more nutritionally compromised at this age may have persistently lower height into adulthood,” says Dr. Corinne Keet. The associate professor of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine is a co-author of the study.
Milk Allergy & Height in Teens
Dr. Karen Robbins, the study’s lead author, noted that “these growth deficits remained prominent in the 5- to 8-year-old and the 9- to 12-year-old age ranges.” Robbins, a pediatric allergist at Children’s National Hospital, says further study is needed. This is “especially so as children enter their teens, to gauge whether these growth deficits are transitory or lasting,” she says.
She stressed that the nutrients and fat found in cow’s milk can be obtained from eating foods such as nuts and meat.
Keet said parents can become too focused on finding a cow’s milk substitute. “But there’s no need for a white beverage,” she said.
“Not all white beverages are nutritionally sound,” and she singled out rice milk and almond milk as “nutritionally worthless.”