Making a SmartStart for peanut introduction to support food allergy prevention guidelines for infants

Sandra L. Vale, Kevin Murray, Merryn J. Netting, Michael O'Sullivan, Alan Leeb, Karin Orlemann, Ian Peters, Rhonda Clifford, Dianne E. Campbell, Sandra M. Salter

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Background: Food allergy affects up to 10% of Australian infants. It was hypothesized that if parents follow the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy guidelines, Australian food allergy rates may stabilize or decline. Objective: This project aimed to determine whether SmartStartAllergy influenced parental introduction of peanut by age 12 months, including in high-risk infants. Methods: SmartStartAllergy integrates with general practice management software to send text messages to parents via participating general practices. The intervention group participants were sent text messages when their child was aged 6, 9, and 12 months; the control group participants were parents of 12-month-old infants. When their child was aged 12 months, all participants completed a questionnaire regarding eczema and family history of atopy. Infants with severe eczema and/or a family history of atopy were considered high-risk. Results: Between 21 September 2018 and 26 April 2022, a total of 29,092 parents were enrolled in SmartStartAllergy as intervention (n = 18,090) and control (n = 11,002) group members The intervention group was more likely to introduce peanut by 12 months (crude odds ratio = 5.18; P <.0001; 95% CI = 4.35-6.16). After adjustment for the infants’ level of risk and family history of atopy and food allergy, the intervention group was more likely to introduce peanut by 12 months of age (adjusted odds ratio = 5.34; P <.01; 95% CI = 4.48-6.37). Conclusion: SmartStartAllergy appears to be an effective tool for encouraging parental introduction of peanut. The ability to provide parents with credible allergy prevention information, along with the capacity to collect simple responses via text along with additional information via an online questionnaire, make this a useful public health tool.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100102
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: Global
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

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