Why Are Food Allergies on the Rise in Children?

In yesterday’s Sphere.com there was an article by David Knowles entitled, “Why Are Food Allergies on the Rise in Children?’ and it is worrisome enough to post some of the article here.  He says,

“The number of children with allergies to certain foods is rising at an alarming rate.

That’s the conclusion of a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics that will be published in the December issue of the journal Pediatrics. Between 1997 and 2007, the NCHS analysis found, child food allergies — such as those to peanuts, eggs, milk and wheat — jumped by 18 percent.

“We honestly don’t know why there has been this increase,” said Amy Branum, health statistician at the National Center for Health Statistics and the study’s lead author.

Analyzing doctors’ records as well as surveys taken by parents, Branum determined that 4 percent of all U.S. children now have food-related allergies. Furthermore, the number of doctor and hospital visits made by children seeking treatment for food allergy issues has tripled since 1992.

Interestingly, when the NCHS expanded its scope to include nonfood allergies, it found that respiratory ailments such as asthma have not increased all that much over the same period, and cases of hay fever actually went down. Eczema, however, had risen 13 percent. Eczema is often triggered by food allergies.”  Continued…

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