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Keywords:

  • breast feeding;
  • cow's milk allergy;
  • food allergy;
  • prevention;
  • review;
  • statements of evidence

The role of primary prevention of allergic diseases has been a matter of debate for the last 40 years. In order to shed some light on this issue, a group of experts of the Section of Pediatrics EAACI reviewed critically the existing literature on the subject. An analysis of published peer-reviewed observational and interventional studies was performed following the statements of evidence as defined by WHO. The results of the analysis indicate that breastfeeding is highly recommended for all infants irrespective of atopic heredity. A dietary regimen is unequivocally effective in the prevention of allergic diseases in high-risk children. In these patients breastfeeding combined with avoidance of solid food and cow's milk for at least 4–6 months is the most effective preventive regimen. In the absence of breast milk, formulas with documented reduced allergenicity for at least 4–6 months should be used.