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Pediatrics. 2009 Dec;124(6):1549-55. doi: 10.1542/peds.2009-1210. Epub 2009 Nov 16.

Food allergy among children in the United States.

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  • 1Infant, Child, and Women's Health Statistics Branch, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hyattsville, Maryland 20782-2003, USA.



The goals were to estimate the prevalence of food allergy and to describe trends in food allergy prevalence and health care use among US children.


A cross-sectional survey of data on food allergy among children <18 years of age, as reported in the 1997-2007 National Health Interview Survey, 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1993-2006 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, and 1998-2006 National Hospital Discharge Survey, was performed. Reported food allergies, serum immunoglobulin E antibody levels for specific foods, ambulatory care visits, and hospitalizations were assessed.


In 2007, 3.9% of US children <18 years of age had reported food allergy. The prevalence of reported food allergy increased 18% (z = 3.4; P < .01) from 1997 through 2007. In 2005-2006, serum immunoglobulin E antibodies to peanut were detectable for an estimated 9% of US children. Ambulatory care visits tripled between 1993 and 2006 (P < .01). From 2003 through 2006, an estimated average of 317000 food allergy-related, ambulatory care visits per year (95% confidence interval: 195000-438000 visits per year) to emergency and outpatient departments and physician's offices were reported. Hospitalizations with any recorded diagnoses related to food allergy also increased between 1998-2000 and 2004-2006, from an average of 2600 discharges per year to 9500 discharges per year (z = 3.4; P < .01), possibly because of increased use of food allergy V codes.


Several national health surveys indicate that food allergy prevalence and/or awareness has increased among US children in recent years.

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