Spreading the Word About Peanut Allergy Prevention

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The National Peanut Board team continues working hard to inform and advise about the impact of early introduction of peanut foods to prevent peanut allergies. Tyron Spearman has more details.

 

 

From the National Peanut Board

The National Peanut Board team continues working hard to inform and advise about the impact of early introduction of peanut foods to prevent peanut allergies. As a reminder, the LEAP study (partially funded by NPB) found that among infants at high risk for developing peanut allergies, those who ate peanut foods in their first year experienced up to 86 percent risk reduction for developing peanut

allergies. In January, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases released new guidelines to make it easier for families to introduce peanut foods. However, change takes time, and NPB is ensuring health professionals and consumers know the facts.

NPB is actively promoting the new infant early introduction guidelines. Here, (L) Caroline Bearden, RDN, and (R) J.J. Levenstein, M.D., and chair of NPB’s Food Allergy Education Council, talk with pediatric nurse practitioners at the NAPNAP conference.

Registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN), and other health professionals and influencers are important parts of moving the needle on early introduction. NPB is strategically reaching out through a variety of channels – in person, digitally, at conferences and via our health influencer ambassador program.

National WIC Association Conference
According to the latest estimates, more than 50 percent of infants born in the US participate in the WIC program (Women, Infant and Children). That makes WIC nutritionists and staffers incredibly important to this effort. Sherry Coleman Collins, RDN, and Keegan Treadaway, marketing and communications associate, exhibited at the National WIC Association (NWICA) annual meeting in Philadelphia, and engaged with hundreds of WIC leaders from across the country. They found that, while many attendees had heard of the changes and new guidelines, many others were unaware. NPB is weighing opportunities to reach this group more.

Digital Channels
In 2016, over 35 million people listened to podcasts weekly, and in the nutrition world, there are several popular shows. Leah McGrath, registered dietitian for Ingles Markets, hosts The Ingles Information Aisle and interviewed Collins about peanuts, including the change in the recommendations for introducing peanut foods. Susan Mitchell, Ph.D., RDN, host of the Breaking Down Nutrition podcast and co-author of the FoodFitFabulous.com website, interviewed Collins for two segments on her show – one focused toward consumers and the other for health professionals.

National Assoc. of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
Pediatric nurse practitioners (PNPs) are interacting one-on-one with children and parents concerned about food allergies, which makes them an ideal target audience for early introduction messages. In March, JJ Levenstein M.D., FAAP, chair of Food Allergy Education Council and media personality, Keegan Treadaway, marketing and communications associate, and Caroline Young Bearden, RDN and communications specialist, attended the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) in Denver, where the attendance of PNPs was beyond 1,500. They engaged in conversations with PNPs to explain the science behind the new guidelines, and useful ways to implement them in their own practices. Plus, they provided them with a how-to infographic, a simplified version of the guidelines, measuring tools, and a jump drive loaded with research, education and information.

Ambassador Program
Our new ambassador program is another great way to engage influential health-minded bloggers and media personalities about this issue. NPB added a “bonus box” this year which will get the best resources and research about early introduction into their hands.

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