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Food allergy education, advocacy, and support

Food Allergy Double Trouble?

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According to a literature review published in the March 2014 issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, reports of food allergies have practically doubled in African American children over a 23 year time period.  Here’s a quick summary of the study by the numbers:

  • Literature review found 10,090 publications
    • USA based
    • authored in English
    • stemming from 1988 – 2011 time period
  • 452,237 children identified
  • Of these, food allergy rates increased every decade by:
    • 2.1% among non-Hispanic Black children
    • 1.2% among Hispanic children
    • 1% among non-Hispanic White children

 

“Our research found a striking food allergy trend that needs to be further evaluated to discover the cause,” asserts Corinne Keet, MD, MS, lead study author and assistant professor of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University. “Although African Americans generally have higher levels of IgE, the antibody the immune system creates more of when one has an allergy, it is only recently that they have reported food allergy more frequently than white children. Whether the observed increase is due to better recognition of food allergy or is related to environmental changes remains an open question”.

While these numbers merit exploration, Dr. Keet points out “it is important to note this increase was in self-reported allergy.  Many of these children did not receive a proper food allergy diagnosis from an allergist. Other conditions such as food intolerance can often be mistaken for an allergy, because not all symptoms associated with foods are caused by food allergy.”

 

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photo credit: “vdavasad” via pixabay