Food Allergies Higher for Inner-City Children

The study by Johns Hopkins Children's Center researchers found that at least one in 10 children from four large U.S. cities has a food allergy, but the actual number may be greater.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Children's Center have found that young, inner-city children are more prone to food allergies than other children. They're already known to have a higher-than-usual risk of asthma and environmental allergies. The study found that at least one in 10 children from four large U.S. cities has a food allergy, but the actual number may be greater "because the study used highly stringent criteria and counted only the three most common food allergies—milk, eggs, or peanuts."

"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," said Robert Wood, senior investigator and director of pediatric allergy and immunology at Johns Hopkins.

About 3 percent of adults and 6 percent of young children in the United States have a food allergy, according to NIH, but Wood said food allergies among children have been steadily rising for the past 20 years, and the new study largely confirmed that trend.

The study involved 516 inner-city children living in Baltimore, Boston, New York City, and St. Louis from birth through age 5.

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