Latest News » Child food allergies abound in densely populated areas

Children in rural areas have fewer recorded food allergies.

When it comes to allergens, many people may expect that rural areas, where the air is laden with various pollens and other irritants, are more detrimental to allergy-sufferers than urban locales. However, a recent study published in the scientific journal Clinical Pediatrics has revealed that, in fact, the opposite may be true.

Although the countryside is undoubtedly filled with plenty of airborne allergens, a study conducted by Ruchi Gupta, a physician and assistant professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University, has revealed that children in urban areas are more likely to suffer from allergies triggered by food.

The study, titled "Geographic Variability of Childhood Food Allergy in the United States," is reportedly the first to take a detailed look at the physical distribution of food allergies among children.

The process involved collecting food allergy data from 38,465 children under the age of 18. In order to determine the regions where food allergies were most prevalent, Gupta and her team of researchers divided the information gathered via the subjects' zip codes. This method revealed that food allergy rates were notably higher in urban areas. In cities, a press release from Northwestern reports that an estimated 9.8 percent of children suffered from food sensitivities. Meanwhile, that number dropped to 6.2 percent in rural regions.

"We have found for the first time that higher population density corresponds with a greater likelihood of food allergies in children," Gupta said in a university press release. "This shows that environment has an impact on developing food allergies."

The cause of this discrepancy has yet to be determined, but researchers have expressed the hope that similar studies will continue to shed light on the factors that influence the development of food-based allergies. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, medical doctor, frequent lecturer and author of Gut & Psychology Syndrome (GAPS Diet) discusses the need for better digestive support in children with food allergies including the addition of nourishing foods like bone broths and cultured vegetables. More information on the Gut & Psychology Syndrome book can be found here.