3.6% in U.S. have food sensitivities
Some 3.6 percent of Americans — fewer than 1 in 25 — have at least one food allergy or intolerance, according to a new report. Those numbers are lower than many earlier estimates.
The study, published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical
Immunology, drew on the electronic health records of 2.7 million adults and children who received care between 2000 and 2013 at a large health care system in the Boston area.
Of the 97,482 patients who had food allergies or intolerances, about half had symptoms such as hives, nausea and coughing. Nearly 16 percent had more serious, bodywide anaphylactic reactions.
The most common food allergen groups were shellfish, fruits or vegetables, dairy and peanuts, in that order. Women and Asians were more likely to have food allergies and intolerances than other groups.
Dr. Li Zhou, the senior author and an assistant professor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said that children had higher rates of allergies than adults, and that allergy rates increased among all patients each year between 2000 and 2013.