Nav: Home

One in 10 adults in US has food allergy, but nearly 1 in 5 think they do

January 04, 2019

Over 10 percent of adults in the U.S. - over 26 million - are estimated to have food allergy, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open that was led by Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH, from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago and Northwestern University. However, researchers found that 19 percent of adults think they are currently food allergic, although their reported symptoms are inconsistent with a true food allergy, which can trigger a life-threatening reaction. Results are based on a nationally representative survey of over 40,000 adults.

"While we found that one in 10 adults have food allergy, nearly twice as many adults think that they are allergic to foods, while their symptoms may suggest food intolerance or other food related conditions," says lead author Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH, from Lurie Children's, who also is a Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "It is important to see a physician for appropriate testing and diagnosis before completely eliminating foods from the diet. If food allergy is confirmed, understanding the management is also critical, including recognizing symptoms of anaphylaxis and how and when to use epinephrine."

Researchers discovered that only half of adults with convincing food allergy had a physician-confirmed diagnosis, and less than 25 percent reported a current epinephrine prescription.

Researchers also found that nearly half of food-allergic adults developed at least one of their food allergies as an adult.

"We were surprised to find that adult-onset food allergies were so common," says Dr. Gupta. "More research is needed to understand why this is occurring and how we might prevent it."

The study data indicate that the most prevalent food allergens among U.S. adults are shellfish (affecting 7.2 million adults), milk (4.7 million), peanut (4.5 million), tree nut (3 million), fin fish (2.2 million), egg (2 million), wheat (2 million), soy (1.5 million), and sesame (.5 million).

"Our data show that shellfish is the top food allergen in adults, that shellfish allergy commonly begins in adulthood, and that this allergy is remarkably common across the lifespan," says Dr. Gupta. "We need more studies to clarify why shellfish allergy appears to be so common and persistent among U.S. adults."
-end-
Dr. Gupta is the Mary Ann and J. Milburn Smith Research Professor for a Sr. Scientist in Child Health Research at the Stanley Manne Children's Research Institute at Lurie Children's. She also is Director of the Science & Outcomes of Allergy & Asthma Research (SOAAR) Program based at Lurie Children's and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Funding for this study came from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (R21AI135702 - PI: Gupta); Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy and Asthma Research at Stanford University; Aimmune Therapeutics; and Denise and Dave Bunning.

Research at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago is conducted through the Stanley Manne Children's Research Institute. The Manne Research Institute is focused on improving child health, transforming pediatric medicine and ensuring healthier futures through the relentless pursuit of knowledge. Lurie Children's is ranked as one of the nation's top children's hospitals in the U.S.News & World Report. It is the pediatric training ground for Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Last year, the hospital served more than 212,000 children from 49 states and 51 countries.

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago

Related Food Allergies Articles:

Researchers find link between food allergies and childhood anxiety
Researchers studied the link between food allergy and childhood anxiety and depression among a sample of predominantly low socioeconomic status minority children and found that children with a food allergy had a significantly higher prevalence of childhood anxiety.
Study offers hard data on food allergies
In a new study, investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital combed through medical records from more than 2.7 million patients, identifying more than 97,000 with one or more documented food allergy or intolerance.
To ensure constant food supply edible dormice rather give up their favorite food
Edible dormice feed preferably on high-energy seeds for reproduction and putting on fat reserves.
Money, not access, key to resident food choices in 'food deserts'
A new study finds that, while access to healthy foods is a significant challenge, the biggest variable limiting diet choices in so-called 'food deserts' is limited financial resources.
Fast food packaging contains potentially harmful chemicals that can leach into food
A comprehensive analysis of fast food packaging in the US shows that many restaurants use food packaging containing highly fluorinated chemicals, or PFASs.
Nutrition program improves food stamp family's food security
Food stamp participants who participated in a supplemental nutrition education program were able to improve their food security by 25 percent, according to a study by Purdue University.
College students with food allergies find big challenges in staying safe
A study being presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Annual Scientific Meeting found most colleges don't have integrated systems in place to support food-allergic students.
Confusing food labels place consumers with food allergy at risk
Consumers with food allergies often misunderstand food labels
Moms and dads of kids with food allergies think they're allergic too
A study in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology reports only 28 percent of parents of kids with food allergies tested positive to the foods to which they reported allergies.
New food-ordering formula could lead to less food waste in buffet-style restaurants
Although food waste occurs in all stages of food production, some of the largest losses occur at all-you-care-to-eat, buffet-style facilities.

Related Food Allergies Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Digital Manipulation
Technology has reshaped our lives in amazing ways. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers reveal how what we see, read, believe — even how we vote — can be manipulated by the technology we use. Guests include journalist Carole Cadwalladr, consumer advocate Finn Myrstad, writer and marketing professor Scott Galloway, behavioral designer Nir Eyal, and computer graphics researcher Doug Roble.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#530 Why Aren't We Dead Yet?
We only notice our immune systems when they aren't working properly, or when they're under attack. How does our immune system understand what bits of us are us, and what bits are invading germs and viruses? How different are human immune systems from the immune systems of other creatures? And is the immune system so often the target of sketchy medical advice? Those questions and more, this week in our conversation with author Idan Ben-Barak about his book "Why Aren't We Dead Yet?: The Survivor’s Guide to the Immune System".