Food Allergies Among American Children Are Increasing

Mar 4, 2009 by

Food Allergies Among American Children Are Increasing

Allergies are a sure sign of toxic lifestyles, poor food choices and toxin-laden bodies. A weak immune system cannot cope with certain foods and certain substances, resulting in allergic reactions and symptoms.

With the way modern life bombards our bodies with all sorts of rubbish, is it really any wonder that food allergies are on the rise?

Food Allergies among Children in the US on the Rise

by Reuben Chow

Food allergies among children in the United States are on the rise, according to a study led by Amy M. Branum of the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It found that almost 4%, or 3 million, children aged below 18 in the United States suffered food allergies in 2007, an increase of 18% from 1997.

The number of children in the US hospitalized each year for food allergies also increased greatly between 1998 and 2006.

About Food Allergies

Allergies are responses by one’s immune system to a particular substance, either a food, inhalant, or chemical. With regard to food allergies, the most common types of foods causing the vast majority of reactions include eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts and wheat.

Allergic reactions can be mild, for example a slight itch, but can also be as serious as death. The exact mechanisms behind which a person develops an allergy is something which is not very well understood.

Generally, children are more susceptible to food allergies than adults. Most children are said to ‘grow out of’ their food allergies, although some people may experience a lifelong allergy to certain foods.

Details of Study

The CDC study looked at data collected during the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). The NHIS is a multi-purpose survey which is conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics of the CDC.

In 2007, about 9,500 children were sampled. In order to make national estimates, each sampled child had to be assigned a weight to give a sense of their proportionate representation of the entire US child population.

The study also used data from the National Hospital Discharge Survey (NHDS) to obtain estimated figures of the number of children discharged each year, whose hospitalization was related to diagnoses of food allergies.

The NHDS collected data from about 270,000 inpatient hospital records, obtained from about 500 hospitals nationwide.

Findings of Study

The study found that almost 4 out of every 100 children under the age of 18 had reported food or digestive allergies in 2007. This translates to an estimated 3 million children.

For children under 5, this figure was significantly higher – about 4.7% had reported food allergies in the 12-month period. There was no significant difference in the rates between males and females, although girls had a slighter higher rate. Hispanic children also had lower reported rates of food allergies.

In general, the numbers are rising, a fact which seems to be consistent between the US and what is reported in other countries. Between 1997 and 2007, the rate of reported food allergies among children below 18 in the US rose 18%. Rates for those below 5 and above 5 both increased during the said period.

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