City Kids Are More Prone to Food Allergies, But Less So in NYC

When I was 15, I told my mom that I planned to move to New York City one day. I had just returned from a trip to the city with my grandparents, and I was in love with the place. I  grew up in Columbus, Ohio, surrounded by family; none of them had ever left Central Ohio, and I was determined to go against the grain. I don’t remember what she said in response, but I’m sure that it started with, “Oh, Heather…”

Thirteen years later, I made good on my promise and relocated from Washington, DC, to New York City. (I moved to DC right after college for a job.) We’ve lived here for about 8 years now, and I honestly can’t imagine living anywhere else.

Sometimes I get a lot of sh-t for raising my kid in the city. For some people, particularly outsiders, the negatives (high cost of living, massive crowds, and constant noise) are a deal breaker. But if you actually live here the advantages (fabulous culture, exquisite food, world-class art, fascinating people, and incredible opportunities) far outweigh the annoyances, at least in my opinion.

And now there’s another reason to love living in this city versus another:  Although a new study just came out saying that city kids are more prone to food allergies (9.8 percent of them have food allergies versus 6.2 percent kids in rural areas), New York City isn’t a hot zone.

According to an article on MSNBC, children living in the District of Columbia, as well as cities in Nevada, Florida, Georgia, Alaska, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland, have the highest rates of food allergies.

In the report, study researcher Dr. Ruchi Gupta, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said that the finding means that there may be some factors that come with city living that predispose children to food allergies. Possible culprits include pollutants and processed foods, according to the report. Furthermore, bacteria found in rural areas may protect children against allergies.

I’m thrilled that NYC kids are getting a bit of a break on this one. After all, they’re at higher risk for asthma, particularly if they’re a minority. Do you live in a city in one of the states cited in this study? If so, does your child have a food allergy?

Photo: City kids via BlueOrange Studio/Shutterstock.com

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  1. by Carrie

    On June 11, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    I live in Delaware and, although I grew up in the suburbs I now live in the rural beach area. I have one child with food allergies. I’d love to know more about the causes! But I love NYC too :)