Study: Food allergies more prevalent in children who live in cities

Children who live in cities tend to have more food allergies than kids who live in suburban and rural areas, according to a new study.

The number of kids with at least one food allergy is about 9.8 percent in cities and only 6.2 percent in rural areas, according to the study, which was conducted by researchers at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

The findings took into account factors that affect the likelihood of developing food allergies, such as age, gender, latitude of where the child lives and ethnicity, according to the study.

Kids who live in large cities also are more than twice as likely to have higher instances of certain allergies, including peanuts (2.8 percent in cities compared to 1.3 percent in rural areas) and shellfish (2.4 percent in cities and 0.8 percent in rural areas), according to the study.

However, location did not have an impact on the severity of the food allergies. About 40 percent of children in the study already had experienced life-threatening allergic reactions to food.

The study also found that some states have a higher occurrence of food allergies than others, namely Florida, Nevada, Alaska, Georgia, New Jersey and Delaware.

Northwestern’s study included 38,465 kids from a representative sample of U.S. homes. The full report will be published in the July issue of Clinical Pediatrics.

In recent years, there has been a rise in food allergies. About 6 million kids suffer from possibly life-threatening food allergies, according to 2011 research by Dr. Ruchi Gupta, who conducted both studies.

Other research has shown children who live in cities also have higher rates of asthma, eczema, conjunctivitis and allergic rhinitis.

Click here for the full article from Northwestern or here for coverage by MSNBC.

To view Neogen’s Food Allergen Handbook, click here.

Comments are closed.