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Researchers uncover food allergy risk factors

Category: Allergy Testing

Food allergy testing may be an important part of regular healthcare for black male children, as a new study has found that these individuals are nearly five times more likely to suffer from the condition than the rest of the population.

Previous studies have shown that high levels of immunoglobulin E - a type of antibody produced by the immune system - are associated with an increased risk of food allergies. For the present study, researchers from the National Institutes of Health used blood measurements of the antibody to determine the presence of food allergies in a nationally representative sample of the population.

They found that children between the ages of 1 and 5 had the highest risk of developing food allergies. Race and gender also figured prominently in the threat assessment, as African Americans and males were significantly more likely have to the condition. The combination of these factors put black male children at 4.4 times greater risk compared to the general population.

"Having an accurate estimate of the prevalence of food allergies is helpful to public health policy makers, schools and day care facilities, and other care providers as they plan and allocate resources to recognize and treat food allergies," said Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

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