Inner-city Kids More Likely to Have Food Allergies, Study Suggests

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A study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology shows that children in inner-city, urban environments are more likely to develop food allergies than are children raised elsewhere. This study compounds other studies that have shown increased asthma and environmental allergies in inner-city children.

One in ten children, according to the study, who live in Baltimore, MD, Boston, MA, New York, NY and St. Louis, MO have at least one of the three most common food allergies. That is in comparison to 1 in 13 on average nationally, according to Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) numbers.

"Our findings are a wake-up call," says Dr. Robert Wood, senior investigator for this study from Johns Hopkinds in a release, "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."

The study was done on a random sampling of 516 inner-city children in the cities listed from birth to five years of age. Measurements of household exposure to allergens were taken regularly, as were dietary history and health assessments. Blood samples were used to determine immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies to milk, eggs and peanuts.

The results were tabulated into the study's findings.

Photo of LA River graffiti by John Nyboer

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