Inner City Allergy Rate Shocks

in Food Allergy
Published: June 9, 2011

Inner city kids with skin allergies or asthma appear to be far more likely to have food allergies than kids in the general population, finds a new study from New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Center.

Twenty-eight per cent of inner city children attending a New York City allergy clinic were found to have a food allergy – usually either to peanuts, egg or milk. The 228 were tested for food allergies because their symptoms to related allergic conditions of asthma or eczema were not improving with treatment.

The usual prevalence of food allergy among U.S. children is 6 to 8 percent in early childhood, dropping to 4 percent by the school years and into adulthood.

Some of the children had exhibited symptoms, such as breathing distress or hives shortly after eating – a significant clue that food allergy may be present. But a majority hadn’t had symptoms that were obvious, according to the study published recently in the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology.

Dr. Julie Wang, the study’s lead author, cautions that these children were patients at an allergy clinic and therefore may not represent inner city communities as a whole. However, she told Reuters that the findings suggest that doctors who treat inner-city children with stubborn asthma or eczema “should have a high degree of suspicion for food allergy.”