Home Science Health Child food allergies twice as common as previously thought

An American study, which is considered the most comprehensive ever conducted, found that childhood food allergies in the United States are more common and more dangerous that previous thought. In fact, twice as common as previously believed.

The results of the study were published on June 20, 2011, in the journal Pediatrics. It is entitled 'The Prevalence, Severity, and Distribution of Childhood Food Allergy in the United States' (doi: 10.1542/peds.2011-0204).

The study concluded, "Findings suggest that the prevalence and severity of childhood food allergy is greater than previously reported. Data suggest that disparities exist in the clinical diagnosis of disease."

The study surveyed families with at least one child younger than 18 years of age. In all, 38,480 children participated in the survey.

It found that 8% of children under the age of 18 years are allergic to at least one food. A previous government study found that this percentage was 4% -- half of this percentage.

Peanuts was the most common food that children were allergic to - found in 2% of children.

In second and third places, respectively, were milk and shellfish.

In fourth place through ninth place, respectively, were: tree nuts, eggs, fin fish (any fish with fins), strawberries, wheat, and soy.

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William Atkins

William Atkins completed educational degrees in science (bachelor’s in physics and mathematics) from Illinois State University (Normal, United States) and business (master’s in entrepreneurship and bachelor’s in industrial relations) from Western Illinois University