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8 Percent of U.S. Children Have Food Allergies


A large, national study of food allergies in the U.S. finds that more children have allergies, including severe allergies, than previously thought. The study, “The Prevalence, Severity and Distribution of Childhood Food Allergy in the United States,” published in the July 2011 issue of Pediatrics (published online June 20), found 8 percent of children under age 18 had a food allergy, or roughly 5.9 million children. Of those, 38.7 percent had a history of severe reactions, and 30.4 percent had multiple food allergies. The most common foods children were allergic to were peanuts (25.2 percent), milk (21.1 percent) and shellfish (17.2 percent). Black and Asian children had higher odds of having a food allergy compared with white children, and children from families with lower incomes were less likely to have food allergies than children from families with higher incomes.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit