Food Allergies Affect 1 in 13 American Children
New research and surveying has shown that the prevalence of childhood food allergies is more widespread than previously thought. A national survey asked over 38,000 families about their children’s eating habits and food restrictions. 8 percent of the children covered in the survey had some type of food allergy. This number is about twice as high as many other studies postulated. About 5.9 million children are estimated to have a food allergy, according to the study which is now published in the new issue of Pediatrics.
Even more shockingly is the amount of children with life-threatening allergies. Nearly 40% of children with food allergies are at risk for severe health complications if exposed to the allergen, including anaphylaxis and facial swelling. 30% reported more than one food allergy. Children who react to tree or peanuts have the highest rate of dangerous reactions. This is the proof that pediatric researchers needed to finally show that childhood food allergies are on the rise. Every three minutes a child or adult is admitted into the hospital for a food allergy related health issue, and every six minutes that food allergy is causing a possibly fatal reaction. These allergies make it difficult for low income families to feed children who are allergic to some of the most affordable foods.
The number of estimated childhood allergy suffers was at 1 in 25 just 3 years ago. It’s unclear right now if previous estimates from the Center for Disease Control were accurate at the time, or if they were low due to a small survey group. If the numbers in 2008 were correct, children are developing new food allergies at a seriously alarming rate. The Food Allergy Initiative is currently donating manpower and money towards researching both childhood and adult food allergies.