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Food Allergies Are Major Problem For Children, Blacks, Males

October 4, 2010: 09:52 AM EST

The first U.S. study to use specific blood serum levels to look at food allergies in a nationally representative sample has found that 7.6 million Americans (2.5 percent) allergic to certain foods. Children, non-Hispanic blacks, and males had the highest rates of allergies; male black children had 4.4 times the risk. Researchers used specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) or antibody levels to determine allergic sensitivity to foods such as peanuts, milk, eggs, and shrimp. Allergies were highest (4.2 percent) among children 1 to 5 years, and lowest (1.3 percent) among adults over 60. Peanut allergies were in children ages 6 to 19. The findings should be helpful to public health policy makers, schools and day care facilities in allocating resources to treat food allergies, an NIH official said.

Liu A.H., Jaramillo R., et al., "National prevalence and risk factors for food allergy and relationship to asthma", Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, October 04, 2010, © Elsevier, Inc.
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