Food allergies are more common for city kids. Photo via stock.xchng.
A new study to be published in the July issue of Clinical Pediatrics has found that food allergies are more common for city kids. The study was the first to map the occurrence of children’s food allergies by location within the United States. Amongst city kids, 9.8% were found to have food allergies while 7.2% of suburban children and 6.2% of rural children were found to have food allergies.
According to Northwestern University, the food allergies of 38,465 children, 18-years-old and younger, were mapped according to zip codes. MSNBC reports that an online survey asked the children’s parents if their child suffered from food allergies, when the allergies were diagnosed, and about the severity of the allergies.
Lead author Ruchi Gupta, M.D., an assistant professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a physician at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago explained the findings, “This shows that environment has an impact on developing food allergies. Similar trends have been seen for related conditions like asthma. The big question is – what in the environment is triggering them? A better understanding of environmental factors will help us with prevention efforts.”
Children in urban areas were twice as likely to have peanut allergies as their rural counterparts. Additionally, children in urban areas were more than twice as likely to have shellfish areas than children living in rural environments.
Nevada, Florida, Georgia, Alaska, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and the District of Columbia had the highest rates of food allergies in children.
Dr. Gupta will be pursuing environmental causes for food allergies in the future. Her research in this area is more than just a passion–she also has a daughter with peanut and tree nut allergies.
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