Study: 1 in 13 US Children Has Food Allergy

Peanuts are a common childhood food allergenNearly 6 million American children–1 out of every 13 kids, or an average of 2 kids per school classroom–have some form of food allergies, a new study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics is reporting.

Recent research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had reported that 3 million US children have food allergies.  But this new survey, which was based on interviews with more than 40,000 children, found that “the prevalence and severity of childhood food allergy is greater than previously reported.”  Peanuts (25 percent), milk (21 percent), and shellfish (17 percent) are the most common allergenic foods.  40 percent of kids with food allergies have severe reactions, and 30 percent are allergic to more than one food.

Dr. Calman Prussin, an investigator with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told The Associated Press that the study “confirms that food allergy is a substantial public health problem” and called for more public education on the difference between food intolerances, such as with the milk sugar lactose, and true food allergies, which are marked by skin rashes, wheezing, or difficulty breathing.

Get more facts on food allergies from American Baby.

And visit fellow blogger Heather Morgan Shott for thoughts on why the advice on food allergies is so copious–and confusing.

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  1. by Polish Mama on the Prairie

    On June 21, 2011 at 10:07 am

    That sounds awfully high and alarming. But I have never seen a classroom in the US with less than 35 kids in it (optimistically, in fact), so I would say it could be 3 to 4 kids per classroom with a food allergy.

  2. by Elaine Horton

    On June 22, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    The numbers are very concerning, but it would be great to figure out WHY this is so and what we can do about it.

  3. by Cara

    On August 25, 2011 at 11:46 am

    I do find it interesting that the numbers are so high. I agree with Elaine…I wonder why it is so.
    My 3 month old son has an allergic reaction to dairy (gets a rash from head to toe).