Why Eczema Is On The Rise In Children + Tips on What to Feed your Eczema Prone Child
As a skincare specialist, I meet an abundance of parents whose children have eczema. Many of these children have severe eczema and spend most of their time covered in various topical steroid creams.
Eczema has a tremendous impact on families, including missed work for parents, missed school for kids, poor concentration at school and home, chronic use of medications, hospitalizations, and social stigmas.
As a mother, I recognize this is not the type of life our children should be living with, but unfortunately, it’s the reality for many kids and it’s on the rise.
Why Eczema is On the Rise
The prevalence of so-called atopic diseases—food allergies, asthma, hay fever, eczema—appears to be increasing year by year, around the world. Doubling, tripling, even quadrupling. (1)
Food allergy is more common in people with eczema. In May of 2013, the CDC reported that over the past 14 years, there has been a significant increase in food and skin allergy among children aged 0-17:
FOOD ALLERGIES increased from 3.4% in 1997-1999 to 5.1% in 2009-2011
SKIN ALLERGIES increased from 7.4% in 1997-1999 to 12.5% in 2009-2011
Skin allergy prevalence was also higher than food allergy prevalence for each period from 1997–2011.
Although there is enough data to support the relationship between atopic dermatitis and food allergies, the conventional medical profession remains divided on the topic. However, we are in a period where there is an increase in the number of children dealing with eczema. As a result, it seems necessary to explore the concept of food awareness in atopic dermatitis.
Up to 1 in 3 kids with eczema has a food allergy that could make symptoms worse. If you remove some choices, it could make a big difference.
Animal Protein During Pregnancy
Researchers in Japan wondered if the Westernization of the Japanese diet could account for the dramatic rise in eczema incidence. In the first study of its kind, they found that higher maternal intake of meat during pregnancy was significantly associated with an increased risk of both suspected and physician-diagnosed eczema. They suggest that “certain components of meat” may affect the fetal immune system.
What pregnant women eat and don’t eat doesn’t just help determine the birth weight of the child, but the future adult weight of the child.
How Can Animal Protein Intake Increase Childhood Obesity Risk?
An increase in animal protein during pregnancy may shed some light on the explosive epidemics of diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. It may also be responsible for the rising prevalence of atopic diseases, such as food allergies, asthma, hay fever, and eczema.
Our Healing Kitchen – Finding A Food Trigger
Some are obvious. If your child eats shrimp or drinks a glass of milk and breaks out in hives 15 minutes later, it’s probably not hard to figure out.
But with eczema, it’s often tougher. Symptoms may not show up for days after you eat something. If you do find a trigger food and get rid of it, that will help.
Eliminating foods works the best. If you think a food may be harmful, you may not want to give it to your child for 10 to 14 days. Watch to see if it makes a difference.
After you’ve taken a food out of your child’s diet, add a small amount back in to see if it causes symptoms. Only eliminate one food at a time. If you ban dairy and gluten at the same time and symptoms get better, you won’t know which one made the difference. You will need to keep track of what you get rid of, and the changes that it brings.
Tracking down a food trigger requires work and patience. Move slowly. I hope that the following referral links will help guide and motivate you on your journey.
Here are this week’s referral links:
Diet, Children, and the Future: Once weaned, children are just like small adults when it comes to nutrition. Starches (potatoes, corn, rice, sweet potatoes, beans, etc.) must provide the bulk of their calories in order for them to thrive. Meat and dairy products, along with oils and simple sugars, make them fat and sick. Here are the best nutritional facts to help you raise healthy children.
Kids With Food Allergies is a great resource for parents of food allergic children. They have shared thousands of their favorite recipes that are indicated as “free of” many different allergens. You can search to meet your special dietary needs, or you can browse by category. The “free of” boxes indicate that the recipe can be made without those allergens (it may require substitution to make the recipe safe for your particular needs).
Inspiring Story: One Teen’s Journey From Crippling Arthritis to Competing in Olympic-Style Weightlifting.
“After first eliminating dairy from our family diet, my mother noticed marked health benefits for my two sisters; it cleared up the eczema of one and the chronic ear infections of the other. My improvements weren’t as pronounced, however, until we stopped eating all animal products.” Read More…