In Australia, children of school age who were born in Asia are far less prone to nut allergies than are those born in Australia, a new study finds. This first, large study of 57,000 Australian children in Victoria found that children of Asian mothers born in Australia were much more likely to have a nut allergy than were Asian-born children of Asian mothers.
The study was conducted by the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute and the University of Melbourne. The results of the study show that being born in Asia seems to be a major factor in nut allergies among Asian children. Likely because of differences in diets and bacterial environments in early childhood.
Study being touted as proof of environmental causes for food allergies.
The researchers say that the study offers proof that food allergies are caused by environmental factors rather than being genetic. It's also an important step forward towards finding a cause and thus a way to stem the growing tide of food allergies in Australia, which has a very high and fast-growing rate among the population in that country.
The study further found that children born and living in urban areas were far more likely to have a nut allergy than were children born and raised in rural areas. This portion also gives credence to the "hygiene hypothesis" for allergies, which theorizes that allergies are caused, at least in part, by under-exposure to allergens in childhood due to the cleanliness of the child's environment.