Survey suggests 19 percent of US adults believe they may have a food allergy
Only 48 percent, however, said they had received an actual medical diagnosis while just a quarter said they had received a prescription for adrenaline.
A cross-sectional study of 40,443 adults in the US, carried out via the internet and telephone over the course of a year has revealed that an estimated 10.8 percent of those interviewed were food allergic at the time of the survey, with nearly 19 percent believing that they were food allergic. Nearly half of food-allergic adults had at least one adult-onset food allergy, and 38 percent reported at least one food-allergy-related emergency department visit in their lifetime. Only 48 percent, however, said they had received an actual medical diagnosis while just a quarter said they had a prescription for adrenaline. Participants were first recruited from NORC at the University of Chicago’s probability-based AmeriSpeak panel, and additional participants were recruited from the non–probability-based Survey Sampling International (SSI) panel.
Quoted in UK newspaper, The Guardian, Ruchi Gupta, a professor of paediatrics at Northwestern University and a co-author of the research, said that the finding that many allergies began in adulthood was particularly alarming: “…because chances are they could eat the food and then all of a sudden they have a reaction to a food that they could previously tolerate – so what changed in their environment or in them that caused them to now develop this food allergy?”
“Some of these foods you know that they probably were able to eat [previously] because they are such common foods in the diet, but shellfish was interesting – it could be one that they are trying for the first time as an adult.”
The five most common convincing food allergies reported among adults surveyed were shellfish (2.9 percent), peanut (1.8 percent), milk (1.9 percent), tree nut (1.2 percent), and fin fish (0.9 percent.)
The report was published in full on the JAMA network