Kids' Food Allergies Booming, Especially in the Middle Class - FamilyEducation

Kids' Food Allergies Booming, Especially in the Middle Class

June 30,2011

Does your child have a food allergy? A new study found that about 1 in 12 kids is allergic to one or more foods -- a rate almost twice as high as some previous studies have found.

The study involved an online survey sent to 40,000 parents across the U.S. The researchers at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago say that the 1-in-12 finding is conservative, and it's likely that even more children have a food allergy.

White middle income families ($50,000 to $100,000 annual household income), especially those in the south, reported the most cases of food allergies in their kids. However, looking at ethnicity, black and Asian children had higher odds of a food allergy. Families earning less than $50,000 a year reported far lower rates of food allergies (observed by parents themselves or diagnosed by doctors).  It's not clear why income may play a role in food allergies. What do you think?   

Peanut allergies are still the most common, followed by allergies to milk and shellfish, the study found.

Although food allergies are widespread, some parents of kids with allergies say people are skeptical of how dangerous a food can be to the allergic child. A few decades ago, as a child with lactose intolerance, I remember my grandparents making me finish my glass of milk with dinner anytime I was at their house because they couldn't imagine a child not drinking milk. But it's amazing that there are still skeptics these days -- when almost 10 percent of kids have a food allergy. (Another study last year found that 1 in 4 kids with a food allergy has been bullied about it -- and even had that food shoved in their face. Awful!!)

For resources on dealing with your child's allergy of any kind, visit our Allergy Resource Center. For great allergy-free recipes for kids, search for "allergy free" on our new Food channel. You'll find some tasty results, such as 7 savory gluten-free recipes.

Please share your tips for keeping your child with food allergies safe, healthy, and happy!