Children living in U.S. cities are far more likely to have food allergies than those living in rural areas, according to a large study led by Dr. Ruchi Gupta, an allergist and assistant professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
The study, funded by the Food Allergy Initiative and to be published in the journal Pediatrics, finds that 9.8 percent of city kids have food allergies – compared to 6.2 percent with the condition in rural areas. The study involved 385,465 children under the age of 18 and is the first large-scale study to map food allergies across the United States.
“This shows that environment has an impact on developing food allergies,” Gupta said in a news release.
Among her findings:
• A 3.5 percent higher incidence of food allergies in city-dwelling children compared to rural-dwellings kids.
• Peanut allergies are twice as common in the city-living children. (2.8 percent compared to 1.3 percent).
• Shellfish allergies are more than double in the city children.
Allergic Living magazine will have a full report on this study in its Fall 2012 edition. Haven’t subscribed yet? It’s easy to do here.