Food Allergies

Prevalence and Severity of Food Allergies Among US Adults – Article Review

A new study was published looking at the prevalence of food allergies among adults in the US. Since most studies are centered around childhood food allergies, this information is greatly welcomed. Food allergies continue to be a relevant topic as they pose a threat to many people’s health and well-being. Adults can either develop food allergies later in life (example: fin fish and shellfish) or continue to react to food allergies from childhood. This study set out to provide comprehensive, national representative estimates of the distribution, severity, and factors associated with adult food allergy in the United States.

Surveys were administered to a sampling of US households, age 18 and above, by NORC at the University of Chicago from 10/9/2015 – 9/18/2016. The primary outcome measures for the study were the prevalence and severity of overall and food specific convincing adult food allergy.  Criteria were set to distinguish between convincing and non-convincing food allergies: severity of reactions and organ systems involved. Statistical analysis was done to compare relative prevalence and other assessed food allergy outcomes by participant characteristics.

Overall 10.8% of US adults were estimated to have 1 or more convincing food allergies, suggesting that at least 12 million adults have adult – onset food allergies and 13 million have experienced 1 or more severe reactions. The data suggests 1 in 10 US adults are food allergic and 1 in 5 adults believe they are food allergic.  The most common allergies seen were: shellfish, peanut, milk, tree nuts, and fin fish. Half of the participants reported a diagnosed allergy and peanuts tended to be the FA with the highest rate of physician diagnoses. A history of severe reactions was more commonly reported by participants with peanut and tree nut allergies. 8.6% of participants reported 1 or more ER visits within the last year. Rates of females with convincing FA were higher than those of males and younger adults (age 30-39 years) were higher than participants 60 years or older. Food allergies continue to be a prevailing topic in health care and as shown in this study, are extremely common in the United States.

To see the study in its entirety visit: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2720064

MU

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