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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010 Oct;126(4):798-806.e13. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2010.07.026.

National prevalence and risk factors for food allergy and relationship to asthma: results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2006.

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  • 1National Jewish Health and University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, Denver, CO, USA. liua@njhealth.org

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The national prevalence and patterns of food allergy (FA) in the United States are not well understood.

OBJECTIVE:

We developed nationally representative estimates of the prevalence of and demographic risk factors for FA and investigated associations of FA with asthma, hay fever, and eczema.

METHODS:

A total of 8203 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2006 had food-specific serum IgE measured to peanut, cow's milk, egg white, and shrimp. Food-specific IgE and age-based criteria were used to define likely FA (LFA), possible FA, and unlikely FA and to develop estimates of clinical FA. Self-reported data were used to evaluate demographic risk factors and associations with asthma and related conditions.

RESULTS:

In the United States, the estimated prevalence of clinical FA was 2.5% (peanut, 1.3%; milk, 0.4%; egg, 0.2%; shrimp, 1.0%; not mutually exclusive). Risk of possible FA/LFA was increased in non-Hispanic blacks (odds ratio, 3.06; 95% CI, 2.14-4.36), males (1.87; 1.32-2.66), and children (2.04; 1.42-2.93). Study participants with doctor-diagnosed asthma (vs no asthma) exhibited increased risk of all measures of food sensitization. Moreover, in those with LFA, the adjusted odds ratio for current asthma (3.8; 1.5-10.7) and an emergency department visit for asthma in the past year (6.9; 2.4-19.7) were both notably increased.

CONCLUSION:

Population-based serologic data on 4 foods indicate an estimated 2.5% of the US population has FA, and increased risk was found for black subjects, male subjects, and children. In addition, FA could be an under-recognized risk factor for problematic asthma.

Copyright © 2010 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.

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