Food allergies on the rise?

accreditation
The study, published in Pediatrics, also showed that allergies were more common in minority children.

"What I hope this paper will do is open this awareness to how common (food allergy) is and how severe it can be, and develop policies for schools and sporting events and any activities that kids participate in to make it clear that everybody is looking out for these kids," said lead author Ruchi Gupta.

Previous studies have estimated that anywhere between 2 and 8% of children in the United States has a food allergy, but most of these were studies that asked participants many different health questions, with allergies only one of many concerns, Gupta said.

Other studies have looked at emergency room trips for allergic reactions, or evaluated doctors' diagnoses in records.

But Gupta and her colleagues wanted to design a study focused solely on the rate and severity of food allergies. They surveyed a nationally representative sample of almost 40,000 U.S. adults who lived with a child under 18.

Those adults filled out an online questionnaire about allergies based on a single child in their household, reporting whether or not the child had any signs or symptoms of a food allergy, had ever been diagnosed with an allergy by a doctor, and had ever had a severe allergic reaction to food.

The results showed that 8% of children, almost 6 million, had a diagnosed food allergy or convincing symptoms that indicated an allergy. The most common ones were peanuts, milk and shellfish.

"One of our big findings was that 2 in 5 kids who had allergies had a severe reaction or a life-threatening reaction," she added.

Severe reactions were more common in older children, possibly because young children with allergies are more likely to be monitored by parents to make sure they stay away from potential allergy triggers.

Gupta and her colleagues also found that black and Asian children had higher chances of having a food allergy than white children, but that they were less likely to have that allergy diagnosed by a doctor.

Gupta said that food allergies were becoming more frequent, but added that researchers weren't sure why. Gupta said perhaps there might be something in the environment driving the increase.

Does your child have any allergies?


We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
The ANC's leadership race is heating up. Who do you think will be elected party president at Nasrec in December?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has got it in the bag
7% - 722 votes
I foresee a second term for Cyril Ramaphosa
83% - 8504 votes
Don’t discount a Zweli Mkhize win
10% - 1016 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
17.73
+0.2%
Rand - Pound
20.15
-0.1%
Rand - Euro
17.59
-0.1%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.58
-0.3%
Rand - Yen
0.12
+0.2%
Gold
1,721.78
+0.3%
Silver
20.82
+0.8%
Palladium
2,271.06
+0.6%
Platinum
928.92
+0.7%
Brent Crude
91.80
+3.2%
Top 40
59,202
-1.1%
All Share
65,613
-1.1%
Resource 10
63,687
-1.4%
Industrial 25
79,239
-1.1%
Financial 15
13,961
-0.7%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE