Black Children More Likely To Develop Food Allergies
September 6, 2011

Black Children More Likely To Develop Food Allergies


A new study published in the Journal Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, says that children of African descent are more likely to have food allergies.

According to a recent Reuters report, while food sensitization doesn´t necessarily pose any danger, kids with food sensitivities may develop full blown allergies to those foods.

Christine Joseph, an allergy and asthma researcher from the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, MI, told Reuters, "We know that sensitization is not the same thing as food allergy, but what they´re reporting does seem to be consistent with what has been seen in other populations.”

Researchers looked at the DNA of study patients to help determine if genetics is a factor in food sensitivities. The research showed that the more African ancestry the patient had, the more likely the child was to have food sensitization, especially to peanuts.

The study looked at 1,110 children born at Boston Medical Center. They were brought in to researchers, led by Dr. Rajesh Kumar of Children´s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, and tested for eight different types of food allergies: eggs, milk, peanuts, soy, shrimp, walnuts, wheat and cod.

According to the study, just over one-third of kids had an immune response to at least one of the foods. About 1 in 10 of the children were identified as black by their moms. Thirty-eight percent of black kids had a food sensitization, compared to 22 percent of white kids. When environmental issues were taken into account, such as if the mother smoked while the baby was in utero, or the child was breastfed, then the black two-year olds were more than twice as likely to have food sensitization. Black kids were four times as likely to have an immune response to three or more of the allergens. Children with more African genetic markers were more likely to be sensitive to peanuts.

The study also showed that Hispanic children were more likely to have food allergies than whites, but the statistics show it is more by chance.

Dr. Kumar said, "we need to be aware that food allergy is a problem within urban populations


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