Asians and Women Are More Likely to Have Food Allergies

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According to a study published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, women are more likely to have food allergies than men. The study looked at 2.7 million adults and children who were patients at a health facility in the Boston area between the years 2000 and 2013.


Prevalence of Food Allergies

In the study entitled “Prevalence of food allergies and intolerances documented in electronic health records,” the researchers found that 3.6% of the 2.7 million patients have one or more food allergies or intolerances. The most common food allergen groups were shellfish (0.9%), fruit or vegetable (0.7%), dairy (0.5%), and peanut (0.5%).


The research findings further revealed that the prevalence of food allergy and intolerance was higher in females (4.2%) and Asians (4.3%). Female patients were more likely to have a recorded food allergy or intolerance than males, both overall and for every food allergen group except peanut.


According to the findings, the results are consistent with most previous studies, specifically that

“females are more likely to have documented food allergies or intolerances, but that peanut allergies or intolerances were more common in males. This sex difference may be due to the overall high prevalence of allergic diseases among females, but alternately may be due to higher rates of awareness and reporting.”


Further data from the study showed that about half of the almost 100,000 patients that had a food allergy showed symptoms like rashes, coughing, or vomiting. About 16% had severe anaphylactic reactions.


“These findings support the pressing need for more food allergy evaluations, as well as a call for more allergists/immunologists, especially given new recommendations for early food introductions, less reliance on isolated positive test results, and more aggressive use of OFC to diagnose food allergy.

Last, our findings support that the EHR allergy module may be helpful in determining the epidemiology and risk factors for food allergy, as well as identifying patients for prospective clinical studies and/or food allergy evaluations.”


This research on the prevalence of food allergies should help raise awareness and make you more cautious in terms of food preparation, especially if you have Asian and women friends.

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