Food allergies on the rise among U.S. children

Posted on by NCHS


More Highlights from Data Brief #10:

  • In 2007, approximately 3 million children under age 18 years (3.9%) were reported to have a food or digestive allergy in the previous 12 months.
  • From 1997 to 2007, the prevalence of reported food allergy increased 18% among children under age 18 years.
  • Children with food allergy are two to four times more likely to have other related conditions such as asthma and other allergies, compared with children without food allergies.
  • From 2004 to 2006, there were approximately 9,500 hospital discharges per year with a diagnosis related to food allergy among children under age 18 years.
  • Link to full report.

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    2 comments on “Food allergies on the rise among U.S. children”

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      Possible Explanation for Increase in Childhood Food Allergies reported by the CDC in October, 2008

      Copyright 2008, James Michael Howard, Fayetteville, Arkansas

      It is my hypothesis that the “secular trend,” the increase in size and earlier puberty occurring in children, is caused by an increase in the percentage of individuals of higher testosterone with time within the population. I suggest this is driven by an increase in the percentage of pregnancies of women of higher testosterone with time within the population.

      It has been determined that higher maternal testosterone levels are associated with lower IgE in boys (Allergy 2007; 62: 25-32). While the authors did not find this effect in girls, I suggest the effect is simply magnified by testosterone produced by male fetuses and may actually have increased in girls as their mothers of higher testosterone increase. That is, the mothers and their daughters may be increasing in testosterone and, therefore, increasing this effect in girls. The reason for fewer cases of Hispanic children exhibiting food allergies may also reside in my explanation: “Mean testosterone levels were lowest in Hispanic women.” (Hum Reprod Update. 2004 Sep-Oct;10(5):421-32).

      A number of studies suggest that food allergies may be non-IgE mediated (Acta Paediatr. 2008 Feb;97(2):196-200 and Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2007 Nov;137(5):803-809). I suggest it is the increase in maternal testosterone with time that may be causing this increase that you have reported.

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    Page last reviewed: October 22, 2008
    Page last updated: October 22, 2008