LOS ANGELES — Food allergy and the distribution of major food allergens was found to predispose to the development of asthma, rhinitis and/or reactive airway disease, according to recent study findings presented at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Annual Meeting.
“The rates of childhood allergic conditions are changing, prompting the need for continued surveillance,” David A. Hill, MD, PhD, of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), told Healio.com/Allergy. “In our study, we sought to determine the epidemiologic characteristics of health care provider-diagnosed eczema, asthma, rhinitis and food allergy in children, and the extent to which food allergy predisposes children to develop comorbid allergic conditions.”
David A. Hill
Hill and colleagues conducted a retrospective analysis of CHOP’s entire primary care network of 1,050,094 children. Of those children, two cohorts were recognized: A closed birth cohort of 29,661 children and a cross-sectional cohort of 333,201 children. The researchers determined the age of diagnosis, incidence, and prevalence of eczema, reactive airway disease (RAD), rhinitis, and allergies to specific foods through frontline health care provider-based diagnosis codes.
“While prior studies aimed at determining the epidemiologic characteristics of these conditions have provided important insights, the majority of large-scale studies have relied on participant reporting as opposed to provider-based diagnoses. These distinct methodologies can provide different estimates of disease patterns,” Hill told Healio.com/Allergy. “Provider-based diagnoses is needed to complement existing data and to provide for the most accurate estimation of what are believed to be increasing disease rates for these conditions.”
Results from the analysis showed that the peak age of diagnosis for eczema was younger than 0.5 years (11.1%), RAD was age 1 year (8.9%), rhinitis was age 2 to 3 years (2.4%), and food allergy was age 1 year (1.9%). The prevalence of eczema was 8.3%; rhinitis, 20.2%; RAD, 22.3%; and food allergy, 7.2%. The researchers measured lower rates of eczema and higher rates of asthma compared with previous study rates. Peanut (2.7%), milk (2.3%), egg (1.9%), shellfish (1.7%) and soy (0.8%) were among the most common allergenic foods, with rates being proportionally higher than previously reported.
According to Hill, “These findings could be the result of differing methodologies between ours and prior studies, but nevertheless, our findings provide new insights into the epidemiologic characteristics of these diseases, describe the importance of utilizing provider-diagnosis data to complement participant reporting methodologies, and provide important information to shape future efforts aimed at prevention, diagnosis and management of these common pediatric conditions.” – by Alaina Tedesco
Hill DA, et al. Abstract 507. Presented at: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Annual Meeting; March 4-7, 2016; Los Angeles.
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.