Going Gluten-FreeJune 22, 2011

Food Allergies on the Rise

1 in 13 kids has food allergies—and almost 40% of them have severe to life-threatening reactions.

The news has been all over the mainstream media. Almost 6 million U.S. children, or 8 percent of kids under age 18, has food allergies. That number is twice the government estimate. The stats are from a new study published online earlier this week in Pediatrics.

The study was funded by the Food Allergy Initiative, a nonprofit organization founded by parents and located in New York City. According to FAI, the study’s core findings include:

  • Over 30 percent of the children participating in the study had multiple food allergies and almost 40 percent had a severe or life-threatening allergy.
  • The most common allergens were peanuts, milk and shellfish, followed by tree nuts and then eggs.
  • Kids between the ages of 14 and 17 were most likely to have a severe food allergy.
  • Severe reactions were most common among children with a tree nut, peanut, shellfish, soy or fin fish allergy.
  • Food allergies were more severe among boys than girls.
  • Asian and African American children were more likely to have a history of food allergy but less likely to be diagnosed than Caucasian children.

The research suggests that food allergies may affect two children per classroom, according to Ruchi Gupta, MD, a pediatrician at Chicago’s Children’s Memorial Hospital and the study’s lead author.

Gupta’s research also suggests that children experience more severe allergic reactions as they age. This could be due to peer pressure and the social embarrassment of dealing with allergies during adolescence and teenage years, particularly as parents become less involved in monitoring safety.

I’m very happy this study has received excellent airtime in the prime time media. This research is news to many in the general public but not to Living Without readers. It confirms what we already know. Food allergies are a big deal. They’re a major public health problem. And they’re serious.

Let's keep spreading the word.

Comments (5)

I was not born allergic to foods, but became so in my 50's. I believe the companies putzing with our food supply, making genetic modifications had an effect on at least me. I know that Monsanto modifies wheat composition. Is it any wonder we become allergic after such "in the dark" modifications based on what? More and more gluten allergies are showing up in many people. Could there be a connection here? I also have a cow's milk allergy also developed later in life.

Oddly enough, they both caused weight gain. Without those two foods, the weight has departed at the same rate it appeared. Lori T

Posted by: Lore T | July 23, 2011 9:47 PM    Report this comment

I have been dealing with food issues all of my life. Born allergic to milk and citrus, diagnosed later with hypoglycemia, celiac, blahblahblah. I feel strongly that 'the baby formulas' or what I call cross-spieces nursing or giving human babies cows milk at birth or just as scary are these powdered formulas, compromise our immune systems as well as our digestive system and is the beginning of the epidemic of food allergies. As an organic chef I know that the industrialization of food has compromised nutrition as well as flavor and has created salt and sugar addictions and further imbalances to the bodies basic needs. I have created a website to teach cooking, as eating out is impossible, with recipes that are gluten, dairy and sugar free. I know that the way I eat is healthier for everyone, I know that the food I make tastes better than anything restaurants offer, my clients tell me so. After being told that my food "is the best I've ever eaten" by celebrities and corporate and advertising executives they are shocked to learn that the meal they had eaten had no gluten, dairy or sugar. www.good2eat4U.com

Posted by: ELaine Good | June 27, 2011 3:34 PM    Report this comment

Congratulations to your son! I struggled horribly with what I now know is celiac disease. Literally becoming a recluse. My Dr. sent me to a specialist and he admitted he had no answers, just told me to take Metamucil twice a day. That helped but still, I continued to eat the bad stuff, so the suffering continued. Doctors are unaware of these things. My niece was the one to tell me about celiac and I started eating properly and am so much better. Jenny

Posted by: jenny nygren | June 25, 2011 12:46 PM    Report this comment

My son is back in school at National Chiropractor School and takes many organic chemistry classes and bio-chemistry classes & has found out a lot regarding why there are so many people with allergies. He takes a special interest because I have celiac disease and he knew he had allergies (he has asthma) in college but didn't want to deal with food allergies. Now that he is at one of the oldest naturalpathic schools in the U.S. he decided to get tested. Out of 308 foods he was tested for he could initially eat only 16. He has come a long way and no longer gets sick because of his asthma-because 99 % of it is from food allergies. Through his studies and a few professors who have relatives with allergies he points to a few things that they know contribute to food allergies: 1) a childs immune system isn't fully developed until the age of around 2yrs. When they are given vaccines earlier than 2 yrs. of age their immune system is to porus and the vaccine leaks into the body (leaky gut syndrome). Consequently, later in their life they are prone to food allergies; 2) children that are given rice cereal, etc, in their formula or breast milk (from a bottle) to help them sleep through the night, at to early of an age, are prone to food allergies (again - leaky gut syndrome). Also, and this has been on the news of late, pesticides contribute to food allergies. These are some of the few things regarding allergies he has learned. Because of the limited foods he can eat and the substitutions he has to make, he is considering making this knowledge and experience part of his practice after he graduates- he could write a book with what he has gone through and what he has learned. Good luck to all. I've become the baking guru of substitutions and his friends (one of whom has a gluten allergy) call me the Fairy Godmother of Gluten-free baking. I make stuff for him, freeze it and send it back to school with him because he goes to school 8 hrs. a day and has to come straight to his apt. to study.

Posted by: Paula C | June 23, 2011 7:23 PM    Report this comment

No surprise to parents who deal with this every day. Perhaps schools, camps, and other child-centered programs will take this more seriously. 2-3 kids in each and every classroom is a huge number and cannot be ignored.

Posted by: Deborah M | June 23, 2011 9:18 AM    Report this comment

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