Pediatric Food Allergies Are on the Rise

Posted 11.17.09 | Nutrition Specialist

Did you know that since 1993 childhood food allergies have increased by 18%? While some have questioned whether the increase is real, or just due to an increase in the number of cases actually reported, new research from the Centers for Disease Control suggests that the spike is real.

So what is causing more children to suffer from food allergies? An article I read yesterday from ABC News suggests that the increase could be caused by the introduction of foods to babies too early or super clean environments.

Dr. Clifford Bassett, the medical director of Allergy and Asthma Care of New York who is quoted in the article, says that one theory is that certain foods might be introduced too early to children. Even if you aren’t feeding your baby things like nuts, they might be in the creams or lotions you use on them in the form of oil.

The “hygiene hypothesis” explains another possible cause of increased allergies - super clean environments that are commonly associated with today’s medical and hygiene practices. The article cites Dr. Bill Parker of Duke University Medical Center:, "the immune system essentially lacks a normal workload... however, [it] does what it is built to do, and finds something to attack, often directing its attention toward such harmless things as pollen grains ... even healthy food."

Who knew that being so clean was a bad thing!

Hopefully these new findings will help highlight the seriousness of food allergies and the need for food allergy treatments. Would love to hear your thoughts on the study – make sure to let us know what you’re thinking in the comments section.


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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.