NEW YORK — A new study recently estimated that 5.9 million children in the United States suffer from a food allergy.
The study, published in the July issue of Pediatrics, also found that children with a tree nut or peanut allergy tend to have the most severe reactions, with nearly 39% of children ages 18 years and younger surveyed saying they had a severe or life-threatening allergy. Additionally, more than 30% of children surveyed said they suffered from multiple food allergies.
The study was funded by the Food Allergy Initiative.
"This is the largest study ever conducted on the prevalence of food allergy in U.S. children, and it differs from previous studies in important ways," said Ruchi Gupta, principal investigator, a pediatrician at Children's Memorial Hospital and assistant professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. "Our goal was to paint a comprehensive picture of childhood food allergy in America. We began by surveying a representative sample of children in the U.S. and collected extensive information on each and every food allergy reported — including date of onset, method of diagnosis, and reaction history."
Study authors noted that data on race and ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status and geographic region also were collected.
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