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Jornal de Pediatria

Print version ISSN 0021-7557On-line version ISSN 1678-4782


FERREIRA, Cristina Targa  and  SEIDMAN, Ernest. Food allergy: a practical update from the gastroenterological viewpoint. J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) [online]. 2007, vol.83, n.1, pp.7-20. ISSN 0021-7557.

OBJECTIVE: To present an up-to-date and critical review regarding food allergies, focusing mainly on treatment and prevention. SOURCES: Review of published literature searched on MEDLINE database; those data which were the most up-to-date and representative were selected (2000-2006). The search included the European Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). SUMMARY OF THE FINDINGS: The prevalence of allergic diseases has increased over the last decades, and food allergy seems to be part of this increase. Food allergy is much more common in pediatrics and has a significant medical, financial and social impact on young children and their families. Treatment and prevention of food allergy is a major challenge for public health, scientific and medical communities. There is a lot of misinformation and the medical management of this condition is still discussable. We present and discuss the guidelines regarding criteria for the prevention of food allergy and atopic diseases published by the Nutrition Committees of ESPGHAN jointly with the European Society for Pediatric Allergy and Clinical Immunology (ESPACI) and AAP. CONCLUSION: The overdiagnosis of food allergy is quite prevalent. There is a need for standardization of definitions and diagnostic procedures. The primary goal of therapy should be to first establish effective means of preventing food allergies. There is a need for accurate diagnostic methods to confirm or rule out the diagnosis. Patients need appropriate treatment by eliminating foods that cause symptoms, while avoiding the nutritional side effects and the cost of inappropriate diets.

Keywords : Food allergy; IgE-mediated allergy; non-IgE-mediated allergy; cell-mediated allergy; prevention; treatment.

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