‘Surprising’ number of food allergies begin in adulthood, study says


peanut allergy
A new study shows that many food allergies develop in adulthood.

New research has found that almost half of people diagnosed with food allergies developed this condition in adulthood, with Hispanic, Asian, and black individuals most at risk.

According to data made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 5.7 percent of children in the United States displayed signs of a food allergy in the past year.

Moreover, a report published earlier this year in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology stated that almost 4 percent of U.S. adults are diagnosed with food allergies or intolerances.

But at what time in life are allergies most likely to develop? Many studies so far have focused on aspects determining the development of allergies in childhood, such as environmental factors and breast-feeding. Yet are allergies — especially food allergies — primarily relegated to the childhood years?

A new study led by Dr. Ruchi Gupta, director of Science and Outcomes of Allergy and Asthma Research at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago — both in Chicago, IL — suggests that almost half of U.S. adults with food allergies developed their condition in adulthood.

The team’s findings were presented yesterday at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Annual Scientific Meeting, held in Boston, MA.

Many food allergies begin in adulthood

In their study, Dr. Gupta and colleagues considered a representative sample of 53,575 U.S. adults.