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Peanut Allergies More Common In Kids From Wealthy Families

Posted by on Sep. 2, 2013 at 9:51 AM
  • 53 Replies

This is old, I know but I had never heard about it... makes sense though.

Peanut Allergies More Common In Kids From Wealthy Families

Posted: Updated: 11/13/2012 2:40 pm EST

By: MyHealthNewsDaily Staff
Published: 11/12/2012 11:03 AM EST on MyHealthNewsDaily

Children from wealthy families may be more likely to have peanut allergies than those less well-off, a new study finds.

In the study, children ages 1 to 9 from high-income families had higher rates of peanut allergies compared with children these ages from lower income families.

The researchers analyzed information from 8,306 children and adultswhose blood samples were taken as part of a national health survey in 2005 to 2006. About 9 percent of participants had an elevated levels of antibodies to peanuts, indicating they had the potential to be allergic to peanuts.

The results add support to the hygiene hypothesis, said study researcher Dr. Sandy Yip, of the U.S. Air Force. The hygiene hypothesis is the idea that living in a cleaner environment may make people's immune systems more sensitive, and increase the prevalence of allergies.

The findings are also inline with those of a study published earlier this year, which found children living in cities were more likely to have food allergies compared with those living in rural areas, which tend to be less expensive than cities.

The study was presented this week at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology meeting in Anaheim, Calif.

by on Sep. 2, 2013 at 9:51 AM
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IhartU
by Gold Member on Sep. 2, 2013 at 9:52 AM


Have Americans Gone Nuts Over Nut Allergies?

Michael Duva / Getty

Five years ago, at a San Francisco elementary school, a nurse stood by to ensure that the children scrubbed their hands as they arrived, while their packed lunches were confiscated and searched for nut products. The measures were a precaution to protect a 5-year-old boy at the school who had a severe nut allergy.

In 2006 a town in Connecticut felled three hickory trees more than 60 feet high after a resident learned that the trees leaning over her property produced nuts and complained that they posed a threat to her grandson, who had nut allergies. (Read TIME's top 10 medical breakthroughs of 2008.)

Recently, a Massachusetts school district evacuated a school bus full of 10-year-olds after a stray peanut was found on the floor.

Do these safeguards seem a little, well, nuts? Harvard professor Dr. Nicholas Christakis thinks so. One of Christakis' children attends school in the district that ordered the bus evacuation, and the episode prompted the physician and social scientist — best known for his work on the social "contagiousness" of characteristics such as obesity and happiness — to write a commentary, published in the British Medical Journal, questioning whether these so-called precautions are snowballing into something more like a societal hysteria.

Of the roughly 3.3 million Americans who have nut allergies, about 150 die from allergy-related causes each year, notes Christakis. Compare those figures with the 100 people who are killed yearly by lightning, the 45,000 who die in car crashes and the 1,300 who are killed in gun accidents. As a society, Christakis says, our priorities have become seriously skewed, and it's largely a result of fear. "My interest is in understanding [the reaction to nut allergies] as a spread of anxiety," he says.

Between 1997 and 2007, the number of children under 18 who suffered from food allergies jumped 17%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Experts don't disagree that the incidence of food allergies has increased, but there isn't much consensus as to why. Some researchers suggest that an overly hygienic lifestyle may hamper the body's ability to build up proper immunities; others believe the statistical rise is a combination of a real increase in allergies and an increase in the number of patients seeking diagnosis (i.e., getting allergy tests that turn up very low levels of reaction that might otherwise have gone undiscovered). "You have to distinguish between an epidemic of diagnoses and an epidemic of allergies," says Christakis.

No one would disagree that children who suffer from life-threatening allergies need to be protected, but the growing trend of demonizing nuts only fuels anxiety, Christakis says. Instilling in the general public the idea that nuts are a "clear and present danger" does little beyond heightening panic. "There are kids with severe allergies, and they need to be taken seriously," he says, "but the problem with a disproportionate response is that it feeds the epidemic."

There's even some evidence to suggest that establishing nut-free zones or nut-free schools may be detrimental to children's health, and increases their risk of developing nut allergies. A study cited by Christakis in his article revealed that, of 86,000 Jewish children living in the U.K. and Israel, those who had more exposure to peanuts earlier in life were less likely to become allergic later on. In the U.K., where peanuts are an infrequent part of the diet, nearly 2% of the children studied developed allergies; in Israel, where peanuts are a common part of the diet, from infancy onward, only 0.17% of children had a nut allergy.

But Dr. Robert Wood, chief of the Pediatric Allergy and Immunology department at Johns Hopkins Children's Center, cautions against putting too much stock in such epidemiological studies. "The reality is that the vast majority of kids — 95% plus — have no potential to get peanut allergies no matter what you do," he says, "and there's ½ % to 1% who are going to get it no matter what you do." Although the findings of the U.K.-Israel study are intriguing, he says, they apply to a very small percentage of children, and more research needs to be done to determine the true impact of early nut exposure. (There is a study currently underway, says Wood, but the results won't be available for another three years.)

Despite the occasional cases of nut over-precaution, Wood thinks the public generally approaches the allergy risk with common sense. "There are definitely situations where we see a fear of the allergy that develops far out of proportion to the true risk, but for the vast majority of schools, things are mostly on balance and in perspective," says Wood, who treats some 2,000 allergy patients. Further, he says, it's important to recognize that the appropriate protective measure depends on the age group in question. "We recommend very different approaches between an early preschooler and a late-elementary schooler," he says. "We view preschool children as being at true risk — sharing food, having messy hands. There are many reactions that occur from those kinds of exposures," he says. "I think that having peanut-free preschools is a totally reasonable, justifiable thing to do." For children in the fourth or fifth grade, however, he says minor precautions like specialized seating arrangements in the cafeteria are probably unnecessary.

Still, on blogs run by moms of children with nut allergies, there is a consistent rallying cry for nut-free zones. The concern is airborne nut dust, which can be inhaled, or oily nut residues that can come into contact with children's skin. Wood, who has been allergic to nuts all his life, says these parents' worries may be exaggerated. The danger may depend on the severity of the allergy, but it has much more to do with the degree of contact, he says. "Nut oils or the kinds of things that might be in a classroom — it's very rare for that exposure to cause anything more than a localized reaction," he says. "On the other hand, if you're a preschooler and your hands are in your mouth a lot, all bets are off."

As for nut dust in the air, Wood says it can cause severe reactions — but only under specific circumstances, with high concentrations of nut dust in a confined space. At a baseball game, for example, where nut dust is quickly dispersed in the air, the risk of an allergic reaction is low. But if you linger in the small waiting room of a restaurant with a dish of nuts and servers who keep passing through with plates of nuts, your risk of an allergic reaction is higher, he says.

But like Christakis, Wood cautions against excessive alarm. "It's an unfortunate situation," says Wood, "if a family with an inaccurate perception of the allergy leads a child to believe that a Snickers bar from 50 feet away is a lethal weapon."


Read more: http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1869095,00.html#ixzz2dk9AV5sD

IhartU
by Gold Member on Sep. 2, 2013 at 9:53 AM


Peanut Allergies in Kids on the Rise

Rate of Peanut Allergies in Children More Than Tripled Between 1997 and 2008, Study Finds
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD
peanut_allergies_triple_1.jpg

May 14, 2010 -- Peanut allergies in children have more than tripled in the United States from 1997 to 2008, an alarming trend that can’t yet be explained, a new study says.

“We don’t know why this is happening, but there are many theories,” study author Scott H. Sicherer, MD, of the Jaffe Food Institute at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, tells WebMD.

Peanut allergy, unlike other food allergies, is seldom outgrown and is one of the most dangerous food allergies, Sicherer says.

His research team surveyed 5,300 households in 2008 and discovered that 1.4% of children were thought to have peanut allergies, more than three times the 0.4% rate found when a similar tally was taken in 1997.

The study says the percentage of children with allergies to peanuts or tree nuts soared to 2.1% in 2008 from 0.6% in 1997, while remaining at 1.3% for adults.

Peanut Allergy on the Rise: Why?

One theory for the rise, the hygiene hypothesis, holds that “we’ve become very good at preventing natural infections, and the immune system is not chewing on things it would normally be chewing on,” Sicherer tells WebMD. “We’re not living on farms anymore, we have lots of antibiotics, but seeing an increase means that something has changed in the environment.”

The theory suggests that “clean living” and more medication use leaves immune systems in a condition that is more prone to attack harmless proteins, such as those in foods, pollens, and animal dander.

The increase also could be related, he says, to the way peanuts are processed.

“We roast peanuts, and potentially, roasting it makes a more allergenic food out of it,” he says. “Some people theorize that the oil in peanut butter might make it more allergenic. Roasting peanuts changes the sugar and makes the protein more stable to digestion and easier for the immune system to attack.”

Peanut Allergy Rate Similar Across Globe

Researchers surveyed 5,300 households representing 13,534 people in 2008, a response rate of 42%.

The study is the first of its kind to incorporate all age groups within a national sample and to use the same methods over such an extended time period. It also is the first study in the U.S. to evaluate allergies to sesame seeds, according to the news release.

Tree nut allergies have increased from 0.2% in children in 1997 to 1.1% in 2008, the study says. Sesame allergy was reported in 0.1% of children and adults.

“Our research shows that more than 3 million Americans report peanut and or tree nut allergies, representing a significant health burden,” Sicherer says in the news release. “The data also emphasize the importance of developing better prevention and treatment strategies.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics used to instruct parents to avoid peanut use until their kids reached age 3, but that has been rescinded, Sicherer says.

The researchers say the rate of peanut allergy they found in the U.S. is similar to results from studies using different methods in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.

The study is published in the May 12 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

celestegood
by Silver Member on Sep. 2, 2013 at 9:58 AM
8 moms liked this
Omg I have been saying this for a while now. We lived in a poorer area for a long time. Only had one kid with peanut allergy, and his parents don't freak out. He is taught to not eat peanut products. Life goes on.
We moved to the ultra rich half of town. The schools here have signs all over stating that this is a peanut free place, I and all other parents are sent home a list of pre approved list of smacks to send with our kids. There are tons of peanut allergy kids over here! And of course they are all deadly allergic; while on the other side of town kids are actually tested and know just to not eat other peoples food.
Anyhow, interesting.
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stringtheory
by Platinum Member on Sep. 2, 2013 at 10:03 AM
Makes sense to me.
lga1965
by on Sep. 2, 2013 at 10:09 AM
4 moms liked this

 What about your average middle class family, average income? LOL.

I don't know if this is accurate.

I have a different theory ...and it has been voiced by others too.....I think that this new fad of not feeding babies any solids until they are almost a year old is the reason for allergies. Their immune systems have not been challenged and strengthened by ingesting foods at an early age. My kids and the children of all our friends and relatives ate baby food at 2 months....but this was in the 1960's and 70's. Nobody had food allergies.

Nowdays, it is declared to be almost sinful to allow any solids to be fed to babies. and look at all the allergies.

celestegood
by Silver Member on Sep. 2, 2013 at 10:12 AM
Lol snacks. Sorry.
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celestegood
by Silver Member on Sep. 2, 2013 at 10:16 AM
I think there's some truth to that. In fact, I think kids were fed peanut butter/peanuts more back then, and at very early ages.
I think that the whole peanut allergy problem has many causes.

Quoting lga1965:

 What about your average middle class family, average income? LOL.


I don't know if this is accurate.


I have a different theory ...and it has been voiced by others too.....I think that this new fad of not feeding babies any solids until they are almost a year old is the reason for allergies. Their immune systems have not been challenged and strengthened by ingesting foods at an early age. My kids and the children of all our friends and relatives ate baby food at 2 months....but this was in the 1960's and 70's. Nobody had food allergies.


Nowdays, it is declared to be almost sinful to allow any solids to be fed to babies. and look at all the allergies.

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stringtheory
by Platinum Member on Sep. 2, 2013 at 10:23 AM
4 moms liked this
Actually, I think your theory would go along with this theory of over-sanitation. I mean, for the most part, a wealthy family is going to live in a more sanitized environment then the average income family, for various reasons. That doesn't mean non-wealthy people are dirty (I'm not dirty, but I don't have hired help disinfecting my entire living space on a daily or even weekly basis.).

Quoting lga1965:

 What about your average middle class family, average income? LOL.


I don't know if this is accurate.


I have a different theory ...and it has been voiced by others too.....I think that this new fad of not feeding babies any solids until they are almost a year old is the reason for allergies. Their immune systems have not been challenged and strengthened by ingesting foods at an early age. My kids and the children of all our friends and relatives ate baby food at 2 months....but this was in the 1960's and 70's. Nobody had food allergies.


Nowdays, it is declared to be almost sinful to allow any solids to be fed to babies. and look at all the allergies.

JakeandEmmasMom
by Platinum Member on Sep. 2, 2013 at 10:28 AM

 I can see where this might be the case.

Radarma
by Ruby Member on Sep. 2, 2013 at 10:28 AM

How this applies to us now, as moms: "let them play in the dirt".


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