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Black Male Children Face Highest Risk for Food Allergies

Peanuts and shrimp cause the most problems, survey finds,,

TUESDAY, March 17 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers analyzing a survey on food sensitivities have found that black male children may have a greater risk of having a food allergy.

The national survey included 8,203 people, from infants to seniors who tested positive for the allergen antibody linked to possible issues with eggs, milk, peanuts and shrimp. The sensitivity levels to these potential food allergens was then tested in all participants.

Based on their analysis, the researchers estimated that 2.55 percent of the general population has food allergies, most often to shrimp and peanuts. But they found that the odds were much greater among blacks, males and children -- especially young black boys.

Males and children had nearly twice the risk for food allergy as others, blacks had triple the risk, and black children were four times more likely to have food allergies.

When looking at having just a sensitivity, rather than a more serious allergy, to foods, the most likely to have sensitivities were children, males, non-Hispanic blacks and people of lower income. About 17 percent were had food sensitivities, the study found, with about 4 percent sensitive to eggs, 6 percent to shrimp or milk and 8 percent to peanuts.

The study was to be presented in Washington, D.C., at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology's annual meeting.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has more about food allergies.

-- Kevin McKeever

SOURCE: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, news release, March 14, 2009

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