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Food Allergies on the Rise
June 22, 2011
1 in 13 kids has food allergies—and almost 40% of them have severe to life-threatening reactions.
The news has been all over the mainstream media. Almost 6 million U.S. children, or 8 percent of kids under age 18, has food allergies. That number is twice the government estimate. The stats are from a new study published online earlier this week in Pediatrics.
The study was funded by the Food Allergy Initiative, a nonprofit organization founded by parents and located in New York City. According to FAI, the study’s core findings include:
- Over 30 percent of the children participating in the study had multiple food allergies and almost 40 percent had a severe or life-threatening allergy.
- The most common allergens were peanuts, milk and shellfish, followed by tree nuts and then eggs.
- Kids between the ages of 14 and 17 were most likely to have a severe food allergy.
- Severe reactions were most common among children with a tree nut, peanut, shellfish, soy or fin fish allergy.
- Food allergies were more severe among boys than girls.
- Asian and African American children were more likely to have a history of food allergy but less likely to be diagnosed than Caucasian children.
The research suggests that food allergies may affect two children per classroom, according to Ruchi Gupta, MD, a pediatrician at Chicago’s Children’s Memorial Hospital and the study’s lead author.
Gupta’s research also suggests that children experience more severe allergic reactions as they age. This could be due to peer pressure and the social embarrassment of dealing with allergies during adolescence and teenage years, particularly as parents become less involved in monitoring safety.
I’m very happy this study has received excellent airtime in the prime time media. This research is news to many in the general public but not to Living Without readers. It confirms what we already know. Food allergies are a big deal. They’re a major public health problem. And they’re serious.
Let's keep spreading the word.