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Food Allergies Among Children Surge Over Last Decade

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Thursday, October 23, 2008 2:44 PM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: Protecting Your Family, Allergies, Asthma, FDA and Prescription Drugs, Toxic Substances, Allergy Kids

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IMAGE SOURCE: NCHS Data Brief / © U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention

A new report released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds more than 3 million American children have an allergy to at least one type of food, an 18 percent increase from the previous decade.

Some experts cited by the Associated Press say the increase is explained by more parents now having their children evaluated by a doctor and therefore reporting the problem, but Amy Branum, CDC lead author says the increase was not a “statistical blip.”

In 1997, about 1 in 26 children had a food allergy, up from 1 in 29 children in 1997, the report found. In 2007, peanut allergies among children doubled from the decade earlier and it appeared to be taking longer for kids to outgrow allergies to egg and dairy products than once before.

The study included interviews of more than 9,000 families that had children 18 and younger.

Study findings include:

Prevalence shifts with age. Over the last 12 months, 4.7 percent of children younger than 5 years reported having a food allergy compared to 3.7 of those between the ages of 5 to 17.

4 percent of those interviewed had more than one child with food allergies.

Children with food allergies were also more likely to also have other related health conditions including asthma, other respiratory problems and eczema.

The parents of Hispanic children reported fewer cases of food allergies than parents of black and white children.

Allergy-related children hospitalizations have surged from 2,615 for the 1998-2000 reporting period to 9,537 for the 2004-2006 reporting period.

The most common food sources of allergic reactions are fish, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, wheat and soy. For more information on these foods and how to manage food allergies, visit The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network.

One out of every 15 children under the age of 3 has some sort of severe food allergy – roughly eight percent of kids. #


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