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Food allergies more widespread among inner-city children
Date:8/14/2014

Already known for their higher-than-usual risk of asthma and environmental allergies, young inner-city children appear to suffer disproportionately from food allergies as well, according to results of a study led by scientists at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center.

The federally funded multi-center study, described online Aug. 13 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, found that at least one in 10 children from four large U.S. cities has a food allergy. However, the true number may be even higher, the investigators say, because the study used highly stringent criteria and counted only the three most common food allergies.

"Our findings are a wake-up call, signaling an urgent need to unravel the causes, contributors and mechanisms that drive the high prevalence of food allergies among an already vulnerable group known for its high risk of asthma and environmental allergies," says senior investigator Robert Wood, M.D., director of pediatric allergy and immunology at Johns Hopkins.

Nearly 3 percent of adults and 6 percent of young children in the United States have one or more food allergies, according to the latest estimates from the National Institutes of Health. Moreover, Wood notes, food allergies among children have been on a steady rise over the last 20 years, and experts have long suspected that children in urban areas are no exception. The new study largely affirms that trend but also points to a subgroup of children who may have higher-than-average allergy risk.

For the study, the investigative team followed 516 inner-city children from birth through age 5, living in Baltimore, Boston, New York City and St. Louis. Each year of the study, the investigators measured each child's exposure to household allergens, conducted physical exams, tracked the children's diets and reviewed their health histories. The team also analyzed blood samples at 1, 2, 3 and 5 years to measure the presence of food-sp
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Contact: Ekaterina Pesheva
epeshev1@jhmi.edu
410-502-9433
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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