CDC: Food allergies increasing

4.1.1More people are affected by food allergies now than in previous years, according a recent report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Among kids younger than 18 years old, food allergy prevalence increased from only 3.4 percent in 1997-1999 to 5.1 percent in 2009-2011. During that same time period, skin allergies in the same age group increased from 7.4 percent to 12.5 percent.

It’s not the first study detailing the rise in food allergies. In 2008, the CDC reported food allergies in kids younger than 18 had jumped about 18 percent between 1997 and 2007.

Although almost any food can be allergenic, 90 percent of food allergic reactions are caused by only eight foods: peanuts, eggs, milk, tree nuts, wheat, fish, soy and shellfish.

Allergic reactions are immune responses. Symptoms of food allergic reactions can range from mild, such as hives, to severe including throat swelling, difficulty breathing and anaphylactic shock.

Other recent studies have found food allergies also are linked to lower growth and body weight in children and that severe allergic reactions are more common in children than previously thought.

Researchers still are trying to puzzle out what is causing the increase in the U.S., according to CNN’s Eatocracy.

However, geography may have something to do with it. A new study has indicated kids born in the U.S. are much more likely to develop allergies than children born in other countries – 34 percent of U.S.-born kids versus 20 percent of children born outside of the U.S. Another study published last year also indicated kids who live in cities have a higher rate of food allergies than kids who live in rural areas.

For our infographic, Food Allergies: A growing concern, click here.

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