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Food allergies in children more common in the city than the country

Posted Jun 12 2012 4:18am

A new study on the prevalence of food allergies across the USA has found that children living in cities are much more likely to have allergies than those living in the countryside. The research will be published next month in the journal, Clinical Pediatrics.

Lead author, Ruchi Gupta, found that the study showed “…that environment has an impact on developing food allergies… The big question is – what in the environment is triggering them?”

The study, which has been the first to map children’s food allergies to their geographical location, identified twice as many children in large cities experiencing peanut and shellfish allergies (2.8%) as children in rural communities (1.3%). It was  found that almost 10% of children in urban centres have food allergies compared to just over 6% in rural areas although this does not mean that the severity of allergies is increased in towns and cities.

An estimated one in every 13 children have a potentially life-threatening food allergyVarious conditions caused by exaggerated reactions of the immune system (hypersensitivity reactions) to a variety of substances. and conditions such as allergic rhinitisA runny nose (rhinitis) due to an allergic response (hay feverThe raising of the body temperature above norma, which may be accompanied by symptoms such as shivering, headache and sweating.), asthma, conjunctivitisInflammation of the transparent membrane covering the white of the eye, causing redness, discomfort and discharge. and eczemaAn inflammation of the skin, usually causing itching and sometimes scaling and blisters. are all increasing in prevalence. The Food Allergy Initiative (FAI) responded to the study by stating: “We are committed to finding a cure for food allergies…”

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