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How common are food allergies in Canada?

August 6, 2020

The prevalence of food allergies in Canadian children has been previously reported based primarily upon self-report. Self-reported food allergy may be inaccurate. A study by Singer et al in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice is the first to estimate prevalence by physician diagnosis. They obtained data from the electronic medical records of primary care providers across Canada to determine prevalence and additional characteristics of pediatric food allergies.

The prevalence of documented food allergy in Canadian children was 2.5%, which is lower than other studies that were based on self-report. The most common food allergies were peanut, followed by tree nut, cow’s milk and egg. Only about 1/3rd of children with food allergy had an epinephrine autoinjector prescription from their primary care provider. Children with food allergy were more likely to have other allergic conditions and less likely to be obese than non-food allergic children. They were also more likely to have a condition such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism and depression. The authors discuss the need for additional studies to more accurately determine prevalence and to explore the associations with obesity and other conditions.

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice is an official journal of the AAAAI, focusing on practical information for the practicing clinician.

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