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Food allergy: is there a rising prevalence and if so why?

Katrina J Allen
Med J Aust 2011; 195 (1): 5-7.
Published online: 4 July 2011

Avoidance of allergenic foods in the first year of life is no longer recommended

Since the 1980s, the world has experienced an epidemic of allergic disease. The prevalence of asthma rose rapidly during the 1990s, followed by increases in the prevalence of eczema and allergic rhinitis, both of which continue to rise. Of great concern is new evidence that yet another allergic condition — food allergy — is also on the rise, particularly in infants and young children. An estimated 10%–15% of the population report symptoms of food allergy,1 although the prevalence of IgE-mediated food allergies (ie, symptoms such as urticaria, angioedema, vomiting or anaphylaxis within minutes of food ingestion, in the context of a positive skin prick test result or food-specific serum IgE level) has not, until recently, been adequately studied at the population level.

  • Katrina J Allen

  • Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, VIC.

Correspondence: katie.allen@rch.org.au

Competing interests:

I am the Principal Investigator of the HealthNuts study, which was supported by a grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council, as well as the Ilhan Food Allergy Foundation, and I have received speaker fees from Nutricia, Pfizer and Abbott.

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