Inner city kids appear to suffer more from food allergies than the general population, according to new research lead by Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.
Researchers had already found that kids in four large cities are more vulnerable to asthma and environmental allergies.
The new findings, which were published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, show 10 percent of the kids were allergic to milk, eggs or peanuts, the three most common food allergens. Just six percent of kids nationally are allergic to these foods, according to National Institute of Health estimates.
More kids are likely allergic, but the researchers tested for only those three foods.
“Our findings are a wake-up call, signaling an urgent need to unravel the causes, contributors and mechanisms that drive the high prevalence of food allergies among an already vulnerable group known for its high risk of asthma and environmental allergies,” Dr. Robert Wood, the senior investigator and director of pediatric allergy and immunology at Hopkins, said in a statement.
The study followed 516 inner city kids from birth to age five in Baltimore, Boston, New York City and St. Louis. They were labeled anywhere from sensitive to foods to allergic to foods. And more than half were considered at least sensitive and 10 percent had a full-blown allergy.
Peanuts were the most common allergen, followed by eggs and then milk.
Breastfed children had the highest risk for developing food allergies. Those exposed to certain types of bacteria because they weren’t excessively cleaned from the house were less likely.
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