News | Published June 14, 2012

Children living In urban areas have more food allergies

I've said over and over how great it is to live in Central PA from a health perspective - here is another reason: Children in urban areas have been shown to have a higher prevalence of food allergies.

According to a study that will be published in the July issue of Clinical Pediatrics, kids in big cities are more apt to have peanut and shellfish allergies compared to children in rural areas.

Here are some key findings published in the study:

  • In urban centers, 9.8 percent of children have food allergies, compared to 6.2 percent in rural communities.
  • Peanut allergies are twice as prevalent in urban centers as in rural communities, with 2.8 percent of children having the allergy in urban centers compared to 1.3 percent in rural communities.
  • Shellfish allergies are more than double the prevalence in urban versus rural areas; 2.4 percent of children have shellfish allergies in urban centers compared to 0.8 percent in rural communities.
  • Food allergies are equally severe regardless of where a child lives, the study found. Nearly 40 percent of food-allergic children in the study had already experienced a severe, life-threatening reaction to food.
  • The states with the highest overall prevalence of food allergies are Nevada, Florida, Georgia, Alaska, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

While residents of Centre County do have issues with food allergies, it is nice to see that we have much less of it compared to truly urban settings. The big key will be trying to find the reason why this occurs.