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Food Allergies Common among Children and Linked to Environmental Allergies and Asthma Later in Life, Suggests Largest-Ever National Allergy Study
Date:5/17/2011

lergic conditions and asthma will develop with age. It also demonstrates that patients with asthma should minimize their exposure to allergens that could trigger a severe asthma response."

Allergies are one of the most common health conditions, affecting one in five Americans. A report out this month from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the prevalence of asthma is increasing, and now affects one in 12 adults and nearly one in ten children. Allergy-induced asthma is the most common type of asthma in the U.S.

Childhood Food Allergies

The Quest Diagnostics study found that children through the age of eight who were tested were most likely to experience high food allergy rates. Specifically, the study's childhood food allergy analysis found:

  • Egg White and Milk.  Thirty-seven percent of infants and toddlers tested were sensitive to egg white and 36% of three year olds were sensitive to milk.
  • Peanuts. Peanuts were the most common source of food allergy in children six to 18 years of age, affecting approximately one in four (26 %) school-aged children tested. Yet, peanut allergies were even more prevalent in children five years of age and younger, affecting about 30% of children tested in this age group.
  • Wheat. Nearly one in four (23%) children tested through the age of ten exhibited wheat allergen sensitization, although the rate declined after that age.

After the age of eight, rates of food allergies overall declined, while sensitivity to non-food allergens increased, consistent with the allergy march. Sensitivity to environmental allergens, including house dust mites, cats, dogs, and common ragweed, remained at high levels through the age of 40.

Disadvantaged Children

The investigators also compared testing rates for children with private health insurance and government-administe
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SOURCE Quest Diagnostics
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