Race linked to childhood food allergies, not environmental allergies

February 23rd, 2013 in Immunology /

Research conducted at Henry Ford Hospital shows that race and possibly genetics play a role in children's sensitivity to developing allergies.

Researchers found:

The study will be presented Saturday at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology annual meeting,

"Our findings suggest that African Americans may have a gene making them more susceptible to food allergen or the sensitization is just more prevalent in African American children than white children at age 2," says Haejim Kim, M.D., a Henry Ford and the study's lead author. "More research is needed to further look at the development of allergy."

Sensitization means a person's immune system produces a specific antibody to an allergen. It does not mean the person will experience .

According to an AAAI study from 2009-2010, an estimated 8 percent of children have a , and 30 percent of children have multiple food allergies. Peanut is the most prevalent allergen, followed by milk and shellfish. 1The Henry Ford study consisted of a longitudinal of 543 children who were interviewed with their parents and examined at a clinical visit at age 2. Data included parental self-report of allergies and self-reported race (African American or white/non-Hispanic). The children were skin-tested for three food allergens – egg whites, peanuts and milk – and seven environmental allergens.

Key findings:

More information: The study was funded by Henry Ford Hospital and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Provided by Henry Ford Health System

"Race linked to childhood food allergies, not environmental allergies." February 23rd, 2013. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-02-linked-childhood-food-allergies-environmental.html