Children Up on Downer Food Allergies

Peanut allergies appear more prevalent

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Parents need to be on food allergy alert! Food allergies can be deadly. A soon to be published article indicates that dietary allergies in children are much more prevalent than previously thought.

Research conducted by experts from Northwestern University shows that 8 percent of the children, up until the age of 18, have food allergies. Of those with allergies, 39 percent have had severe reactions and 30 percent have several food allergies.  

For children who have severe food allergies, accidental ingestion can lead to an anaphylactic reaction, which can cause breathing difficulties, and possibly even death. The most common dietary allergies in children are to peanuts (25 percent), milk (22 percent) and shellfish (17 percent).

"If you notice breathing issues, have your child tested by an allergist."

Ruchi Gupta, M.D., an assistant professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a pediatrician at Children's Memorial Hospital, reports that this large, population-based study shows that food allergies in young children are significant and trending upwards. 

Researchers surveyed nearly 40,000 families in the United States. The questionairre asked about present or past food allergies, the child's age at onset, diagnosis method and reaction history for each reported allergen.

The researchers believe this study unique because of the large sample size. Surveyors were also able to decipher between allergies and food intolerance, demographic information and trends.

The determination was made that Asian and African American children were more likely than white children to have food allergies, but were also less likely to have received treatment.

Dr. Gupta now plans on applying racial, geographic and diagnostic trends data to understanding why some children have food allergies while others manage to avoid them.

This research study was published in the July 2011 issue of Pediatrics.

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Review Date: 
June 20, 2011
Last Updated:
July 8, 2011