American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Annual Meeting
American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Annual Meeting
October 31, 2017
2 min read

Food allergies increasingly prevalent in US children

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Ruchi Gupta, MD
Ruchi Gupta

BOSTON — The prevalence of pediatric food allergies in the United States has increased from 8% in 2009-2010 to 9.3% in 2015-2016, according to a recent presentation at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology’s Annual Scientific Meeting.

“Adults and parents of children are reporting food allergies at higher rates,” Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH, associate professor of pediatrics and medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine in Northwestern University, told Infectious Diseases in Children. “Given the substantial quality of life burden that daily food allergy management places on affected families as well as the growing awareness of conditions like oral food syndrome and intolerances that can be mistaken for allergy, it has never been more important that patients consult their physician to conduct diagnostic testing and develop an appropriate management plan.”

To follow-up on previously recorded prevalence data collected in a 2009-2010 nationally representative survey, the researchers administered cross-sectional surveys that were completed by 53,575 American households. All surveys were completed between October 2015 and September 2016. Responses completed by English- and Spanish-speaking parents aged 18 years and older represented 41,341 children aged younger than 18 years. 

Prevalence was estimated through weighted proportions, and relative practices by demographic characteristics were related using multiple logistic regression.

The prevalence of food allergies in children within the U.S. is 9.3% (95% CI: 8.8-9.8), with no significant change in prevalence in specific race/ethnicity or gender. Children younger than 1 year demonstrated the fewest lowest incidence of food allergies (3.6), whereas children 1 to 2 years demonstrated the highest prevalence (10.7%). For children aged between 3 and 18 years, different age categories exhibited a prevalence ranging from 9.1% to 10.4% in the included cohorts.

Peanut allergies were the most commonly reported allergen, with 2.5% of children experiencing an allergy to the food. Milk, shellfish, tree nuts, egg, wheat, soy, fin fish and sesame were also labeled as prevalent allergens.

“Physicians should also inquire about potential adverse reactions to food during visits to be able to properly diagnose and manage their patients,” Gupta said in an interview. –by Katherine Bortz


Gupta R, et al. OR078. The prevalence of childhood food allergy in the United States: An update. Presented at: The ACAAI Annual Meeting; Oct. 26-30, 2017; Boston, MA.

Disclosure: Infectious Diseases in Children was unable to confirm relevant financial disclosures prior to publication.