CDC: Rise in children with food allergies

October 23, 2008

The prevalence of food or digestive allergies among children increased 18% in the past decade, reported the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The prevalence of food or digestive allergies among children increased 18% in the past decade, reported the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The findings, published in an October CDC National Center for Health Statistics data brief, state that approximately 3 million children under age 18 were reported to have a food or digestive allergies in the previous year, compared to 2.3 million in 1997.

Children with food allergies were also found to be two to four times more likely to have other related conditions compared with children without food allergies. In 2007, 29% of children with food allergy also had asthma, compared to 12% of children without food allergy. Approximately 27% of children with food allergy had reported eczema or skin allergy, compared to 8% of children without food allergy. Furthermore, over 30% of children with food allergy also had reported respiratory allergy, compared with 9% of children with no food allergy.

In addition, boys and girls had similar rates of food allergy (3.8% and 4.1%, respectively). Approximately 4.7% of children younger than 5 had a reported food allergy, compared to 3.7% of children and teens ages 5 to 17.

The full report can be accessed on the CDC website.