Race Plays Role in Kids’ Food Allergies

MONDAY, February 1, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Black American children have higher rates of shellfish and fish allergies than white children, according to a new study.

Research confirms the important role race plays in children’s food allergies, the study authors said.

“Food allergy is a common illness in the United States, and we know from our previous research that there are significant differences between African American and white children with food allergies, but there are so many things we need to know to power minority groups, ”said study co-author Dr. Mahboobeh Mahdavinia. She is chief of allergy and immunology at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

“In this current article, our aim was to understand whether children of different races are allergic to similar foods, or if there is a difference based on their racial background,” Mahdavinia said in a press release from the medical center.

The research team studied 664 children, aged 12 and under, who had been diagnosed with food allergy. Of these, 36% were black and 64% were white.

Compared to white children, black children were more likely to have an allergy to shellfish and finfish, and to have an allergy to wheat, the researchers found.

Exposure to cockroaches can trigger an allergy to shellfish and finfish in children, and there are higher levels of cockroach allergens in poorer inner-city neighborhoods where many black children live, noted. the authors of the study.

The results confirm the importance of reducing the exposure of black children to cockroaches, the researchers said.

According to Susan Fox, study co-author, medical assistant in allergology and immunology at Rush, “This information can help us treat not only a child’s food allergy, but all of their allergic diseases, including asthma and allergic rhinitis. [hay fever] and atopic dermatitis [eczema]. ”

The study also found that black children with food allergies were more likely to have asthma than white children with food allergies, and children with shellfish allergies were more likely to have more severe asthma.

Asthma accompanies about 70% of deaths from severe allergic reactions [anaphylaxis] to food, the study authors said.

“African American children are two to three times more likely to be fatal anaphylaxis than white children,” Mahdavinia said. “By knowing this information, he can identify most of the patients at risk.”

The report was published in the February issue of Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics has more on food allergies.

SOURCE: Rush University Medical Center, press release, January 27, 2021

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