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Low-Income Children at High Risk
In another study, Ekta Shah, MD, of Children's Hospital Chicago at
Northwestern University-McGaw Medical Center (NWU-MMC) explored demographic
factors that may put some children at higher risk for accidental exposure to
food allergies. The hypothesis was that children living in low-income and/or
non-English speaking households will have a higher prevalence of accidental
exposure to food allergens than children from higher-income homes where English
A study included 100 children diagnosed with a food allergy who were
patients at the Pediatric Allergy and Outpatient Clinic at NWU-MMC.
More than half of the children were from homes with an annual income greater
than $100,000. Forty-one percent of participants had experienced accidental
exposure to a food allergen. Of this group, 67% were from households with
incomes below the Cook County, Ill., median income of $40,000 annually.
The study established a significant correlation between household income and
accidental exposure to food allergens, says Shah, but the sample of
non-English-speaking households was too small to make a conclusion about the
role of language. Only 13 of the children were from ethnic homes with a
different primary language.
Commenting on this study, Greenhawt says based on clinical experience he
would expect language to be a more important factor in accidental exposure than
The studies were presented Nov. 12 at The American College of Allergy,
Asthma & Immunology Annual Scientific Meeting in Dallas.