Allergies: Does risk vary?

Posted 5.29.12 | Rob McCandlish, RDN

When it comes to food allergies, many Neocate families are familiar with some of the facts that the media highlights about the percentage or numbers of children with certain allergies. You’ve probably also heard that allergies are becoming more common. But have you ever wondered whether race or ethnicity or even location means a higher chance of allergies?

Recent Research

A study that was published recently revealed a lot of interesting information related to allergies in America. The lead author, Dr. Ruchi Gupta, is a pediatrician at Children’s Memorial Hospital and assistant professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University, both in Chicago. You can find a nice summary of the results here.

Aside from the important finding that allergies continue to become more common than we thought, one thing stands out: Asian and African American children, compared to white children, are more likely to have allergy symptoms, but less likely to be diagnosed with an allergy. This suggests that there are differences in allergy prevalence between different races or ethnic groups, but more research may be needed to support this. It also highlights that fewer minority children are actually diagnosed with allergies, likely due to health care inequalities.

Where We Live 

Dr. Gupta and her colleagues have been further analyzing the data from the above study, and a new article came out this month that focuses on how where kids live affects the likelihood of allergies. The surprising finding was that there was a clear increase in allergies in urban environments. Even when the researchers exclude age, ethnicity, gender, and other factors, children who live in cities or urban environments are still more likely to be diagnosed with allergies. Pretty interesting! 

What do you think of the results of this new research? Will you be moving to the country to lower your children’s’ chances of allergies?

- Rob


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About Us

Food Allergy Living is a resource for parents of children with food allergies, brought to you by Nutricia, the makers of Neocate. For more in-depth information about our purpose & authors, see our About Food Allergy Living page.