Nutritional problems related to food allergy in childhood

Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2008 Mar;19(2):188-95. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3038.2007.00700.x.


Food allergy is becoming an increasing problem worldwide with an estimated 6-8% of children affected at some point in their childhood. The perceived prevalence of food allergy is even higher with an estimated 20% of children adhering to some form of elimination diet. Against this background, accurate diagnosis is essential to prevent the imposition of unnecessarily restrictive diets on young children. Raising clinical awareness amongst health professionals as to the clinical characteristics, epidemiology, investigation, and management of food allergic disorders is key to tackling this growing problem. In this article, three separate cases of children with poor nutrition and secondary morbidity are presented, highlighting the varying scenarios in which these conditions can be encountered. In the first child, the features clinically displayed were hypocalcemic seizures and rickets due to prolonged breast feeding, poor weaning, and inadequate dietary supplementation. The second case reveals the dangers of complementary diagnostic allergy testing leading to poor nutrition as a consequence of an unsupervised elimination diet. The last report describes a child with multiple food allergies, failure to thrive, and protein losing enteropathy to highlight the diversity of nutritional problems faced by allergists and to underline the importance of specialist dietetic input in the management of a child with food allergy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / diet therapy
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / etiology
  • Asthma / complications
  • Asthma / drug therapy
  • Breast Feeding / adverse effects
  • Calcium, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / etiology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diarrhea / etiology
  • Diarrhea / therapy
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Failure to Thrive / diet therapy
  • Failure to Thrive / etiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Food Hypersensitivity / complications*
  • Humans
  • Hypocalcemia / complications
  • Hypocalcemia / diet therapy
  • Infant
  • Iron, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Male
  • Nutrition Disorders / complications*
  • Nutrition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Nutrition Disorders / diet therapy
  • Rickets / diet therapy
  • Rickets / etiology
  • Seizures / etiology
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage


  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Iron, Dietary
  • Vitamin D