A new research study is shining more light on food allergies. A recent study published in the journal JAMA Network Open finds that people of color and low income individuals are more likely to have food allergies than white people, and those in higher income brackets.

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According to the study, Asian, Black and Hispanic people are more likely to report having food allergies. Among participants, the group with the highest number of food allergies are those who identified as Hispanic (10.6%). Next, are those who identify as Black (10.6%) and third, are those who identified as Asian (10.5%). In terms of income levels, those who had the lowest number of food allergies lived within households that earned more than $150,000 per year.


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What kids of things were on the allergy list for these groups?

  • Asian children had the highest rates of tree nut allergy. Asian adults had the highest rates of allergic reactions to shellfish and peanuts.
  • Hispanic adults had the highest rates of allergic reaction to hen’s eggs and also fin fish.
  • Black children had the highest rates of allergic triggers to eggs and fin fish, such as tuna, halibut and salmon. Black adults had the highest rates of allergic reactions to tree nuts. Black people of any age with food allergies were the most likely to report problems to doctors, stating issues with more than one food (50.6%).

According to the CDC, food allergies affect 11% of adults and 8% of children in the US. Per the government agency, food allergy numbers are rising.

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“Is it microbiome or disparities that we see causing other conditions that are related to food allergy, or is there something in the environment that’s triggering more food allergies? We don’t completely know,” Dr. Ruchi Gupta, a co-author of the new study and the director of the Center for Food Allergy and Asthma Research and a professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine said in an interview with CNN.

Independent of the reason, Dr. Gupta thinks that all doctors should be aware of food allergies in people of color and screen for them. “I think these disparities have been a little bit hidden and are not getting diagnosed.”

She continues stating that, “If an allergic reaction to food occurs, it’s really, really important to get that diagnosis and plan and then have access to these new treatments when they come out,” she said. “I don’t want to see these disparities grow.”

If you would like to read the complete JAMA Network Open research study, click here.

Tiffany Silva

Tiffany Silva

Writer and Editor

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