Food Allergies on the Rise in Children
Study Shows Food Allergies in Kids Are Up 18% in a Decade
WebMD News Archive
Nov. 16, 2009 -- Food allergies in children, including peanut allergy, have
increased by nearly 20% in the last 10 years, and certain ethnic groups may be
harder hit than others.
A new study shows reports of food allergies in children rose by 18% from
1997-2007 while ambulatory care visits to treat food-allergy-related illnesses
have tripled in recent years.
Although food allergy rates were similar among boys and girls, the results
showed the biggest increase in food allergies was among Hispanic children, but
this may represent disparities in awareness and reporting among different
Researchers say many reports have suggested that food allergies in children
are on the rise, but few resources are available to make reliable
In their study, published in Pediatrics, researchers analyzed
information from national health surveys that included information on
parent-reported children's food allergies, visits to ambulatory care clinics
for treatment of allergies, and allergy-related health care usage from 1993 to
The results showed that in addition to an 18% increase in parent-reported
food allergies among children under the age of 18, visits to ambulatory care
clinics for allergy-related illnesses increased from an estimated 116,000 per
year in 1993-1997 to an estimated 317,000 per year in 2003-2006.
"Reported food allergy is increasing among children of all ages, among boys
and girls, and among children of different races/ethnicities," write researcher
Amy M. Branum, MSPH, of National Center for Health Statistics at the CDC, and
colleagues in the study.
"However, it cannot be determined how much of the increases in estimates are
truly attributable to increases in clinical disease and how much are
attributable to increased awareness by physicians, other health care providers,