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Food Allergies More Common In Children Living In Urban Areas

St. Louis Allergy Specialist, Dr. Manoj Warrier, on the expert panel for the study. 

A nationwide study demonstrates the connection and prevalence of child food  allergies and the surrounding environment in which a child lives; urban, suburban and rural.

Of the nearly 40,000 families surveyed, results showed that the share of children with food allergies  was 9.8 percent in cities as compared to 7.2 percent in suburban areas, and 6.2 percent in rural  settings.

The study also shows that peanut allergies are two times as prevalent in urban environments  compared to rural communities, with 2.8 percent of children having the allergy in urban centers  versus 1.3 percent in rural communities.

Dr. Manoj Warrier of the Allergy, Asthma & Sinus Care Center (www.AASCare.com) in St. Louis was  personally selected by the study’s lead investigator, Dr. Ruchi Gupta, assistant professor of  pediatrics at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, to serve on the panel based  on his expertise of pediatric food allergies.

“The results of this study bring a new awareness to the geographic distribution of childhood food  allergies and indicate that environmental factors have a significant impact on risk for the  development of food allergies. I do see some parallels in this study to the cases we see here in St.  Louis.  Now the big question is; Why?” says Warrier.

Dr. Warrier offers several theories that address the “why” question; perhaps processed foods play a  role, pollutants, diets, delayed introduction of food and the hygiene hypothesis all should be  considered, but these have yet to be proven.

In the meantime, Dr. Warrier suggests that the findings of the study be used as an awareness tool  for organizations that may need this information.

The study titled “Geographic Variability of Childhood Food Allergy in the United States” is  scheduled to be published in the July 2012 edition of Clinical Pediatrics. The study’s findings and  methodologies may be reviewed by visiting:  http://cpj.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/05/14/0009922812448526.

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