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Inner-city children at higher risk of food allergies

Lana Bandoim's picture
city and food allergy

A new study reveals that children who live in the city are at a higher risk of food allergies. The research went beyond the usual information about asthma to consider how allergies to food differ among urban and rural kids. The study mentions that children in urban areas have food allergies at a rate of 1 out of 10.


Scientists followed more than 500 children in cities to collect data on their food allergies over the course of several years. The research, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, reveals information about their reaction to peanuts, milk and eggs. Although the children had allergies to other items, the researchers focused on the most common problems.

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Children who lived in urban areas were more likely to have food allergies compared to children who lived in rural areas. The study mentions that 55 percent of the urban children included in the research showed sensitivity to peanuts, milk or eggs. Not surprisingly, more children were allergic to peanuts than the other two food products.

Researchers believe the actual number of children with allergies in cities is actually higher than their findings. Although more studies are needed to determine why a large difference exists between urban and rural children, some scientists believe that limited exposure to certain microbes in cities is affecting their immune systems. They think kids raised in more rural settings are more likely to come in contact with these microbes. In general, allergies among children have been increasing in recent years, so this trend should not be ignored. As more studies are done in this field, they hope to find the answers and solutions to safely reducing allergies in children.

Image: AngMoKio/Wikimedia Commons