Food allergy prevalence: 1 in 10 US adults actually have one, but 1 in 5 believe they do

636824653884107130group cooking.jpg

07 Jan 2019 --- At least one in ten US adults have food allergies, yet almost one in five believe that they actually have one, according to a cross-sectional study survey published in JAMA Network Open. The population-based survey study of 40,000 US adults sought to provide nationally representative estimates of the distribution, severity, and factors associated with adult food allergies. Based on the findings, the researchers highlight the importance of visiting a physician to determine a food allergy before eliminating foods from one’s diet, for example.

According to the study, roughly 11 percent were food allergic at the time of the survey, whereas nearly 19 percent of adults believed that they were allergic to a specific food. Nearly half of food-allergic adults had at least one adult-onset food allergy, and 38 percent reported at least one food allergy-related emergency department visit in their lifetime.

Shellfish allergy was the most common, followed by milk, peanut, tree nut and finfish. Self-reported food allergies by study participants weren't confirmed by diagnosis. 

Adult-onset food allergies are an important emerging health problem. According to the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) statistics, more than 170 foods have been reported to cause allergic reactions. 

Click to EnlargeEight major food allergens include milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish and crustacean shellfish. These are responsible for most of the serious food allergy reactions in the US. An additional allergy to sesame is an emerging concern.

The study data indicate that the most prevalent food allergens among US adults are shellfish (affecting 7.2 million adults), milk (4.7 million), peanut (4.5 million), tree nut (3 million), finfish (2.2 million), egg (2 million), wheat (2 million), soy (1.5 million) and sesame (0.5 million).

“Our data show that shellfish is the top food allergen in adults, that shellfish allergy commonly begins in adulthood, and that this allergy is remarkably common across the lifespan,” says lead author Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH, from Lurie Children’s, who is also a Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

“We need more studies to clarify why shellfish allergy appears to be so common and persistent among US adults,” adds Gupta.

The survey sought out to provide nationally representative estimates of the distribution, severity and factors associated with adult food allergies. 

Surveys were administered via the internet and telephone from October 2015 to September 2016. Participants were first recruited from NORC at the University of Chicago’s probability-based AmeriSpeak panel, and additional participants were recruited from the non–probability-based Survey Sampling International (SSI) panel.

The study found that at least one in ten US adults are food allergic. However, the results also suggest that nearly one in five adults believe themselves to be food allergic, whereas only one in 20 is estimated to have a physician-diagnosed food allergy. 

Overall, approximately half of all food-allergic adults developed at least one adult-onset allergy, suggesting that adult-onset allergy is common in the US among adults of all ages, to a wide variety of allergens and among adults with and without additional, childhood-onset allergies.

Click to EnlargeGupta says it is important to see a physician for appropriate testing and diagnosis before completely eliminating foods from the diet.

Considering the economic and quality of life implications associated with allergen avoidance and other food allergy management behaviors, individuals with a suspected food allergy should receive appropriate confirmatory testing and counseling to counter unnecessary avoidance of allergenic food, say the researchers. 

Greater patient education efforts regarding key differences between food intolerances and allergies also may be warranted. Furthermore, the results of the study suggest that adults need to be encouraged to see their physicians to receive a proper diagnosis, epinephrine prescription, and counseling for their food allergy.

The food allergen issue continues to inspire creative product development. For example, in November 2018, a collaboration agreement between Mount Sinai Health Systems and AllerGenis LLC was launched, seeking to develop and commercialize improved food allergy detection and patient management technology, that provides both clinicians and patients with better insight and information. The first product of the collaboration will be a peanut allergy assay, available in the fall of 2019, followed by a series of assays for other common food allergies like milk, nuts, egg and shellfish.

To contact our editorial team please email us at editorial@cnsmedia.com

Related Articles

Health & Nutrition News

A green diet revolution? Calls for radical diet and food production intervention to improve health and the planet

17 Jan 2019 --- Feeding a growing population of 10 billion people by 2050 with a healthy and environmentally friendly diet will be impossible without dramatically transforming the global population’s eating habits, improving food production and reducing food waste. This is according to a Lancet commission of prominent academics that has put forward a planetary health diet.

Health & Nutrition News

Fasting may improve health and shield against age-related diseases, study finds

17 Jan 2019 --- Fasting intermittently (IF) may reprogram a variety of cellular responses and result in a range of health benefits, according to a US study conducted on mice. Fasting was found to affect circadian clocks in the liver and skeletal muscles, causing them to rewire their metabolism, which may promote health and protect from age-related diseases. The research, published in Cell Reports, opens new pathways of investigation that may lead to the development of nutritional strategies to improve health in humans.

Health & Nutrition News

Claiming concentration? Red Bull cautioned by UK advertising watchdog for “misleading” health claim

17 Jan 2019 --- UK advertising watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), has banned a poster for the energy drink Red Bull for reportedly implying that Red Bull has a beneficial impact on health, in particular, focus and concentration. Suggesting a product aids focus and concentration is a health claim, and therefore must comply with the claims authorized on the EU register. This is According to Regulation (EC) 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods. Health claims are defined as those that state, suggest or imply a relationship between a food, or ingredient and health.

Packaging & Technology News

First time for Europe: Spanish supermarket chain launches Nutri-score labeling

16 Jan 2019 --- Spanish supermarket chain Eroski has introduced a handful of own-brand products featuring Nutri-Score labeling. This makes Eroski the first distribution company in Spain to incorporate this “advanced nutrition” labeling. The Nutri-Score system classifies foods into five levels, indicated by colored letters – from “A” in dark green to “E” in dark orange. It is calculated on the basis of the calories, the nutrients which are beneficial for our health – fiber, protein, amount of fruit, vegetables, nuts and pulses – and nutrients whose intake should be reduced – saturated fat, salt and sugar – per 100 grams of the product.

Health & Nutrition News

Microbiome holds potential for treating milk allergy, mice study finds

16 Jan 2019 --- Gut microbes from healthy infant donors transplanted into mice prevented allergic reactions to milk, while gut microbes from infant donors with milk allergies failed to do the same, according to a Chicago University study. Supported by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and published in Nature Medicine, the study findings suggest that gut microbes can significantly affect allergic responses to foods.

More Articles
URL : http://www.nutritioninsight.com:80/news/food-allergy-prevalence-1-in-10-us-adults-actually-have-one-but-1-in-5-believe-they-do.html