Kids and Food Allergies: A Growing Problem

Do you have kids or know someone who does? Then you might be interested to know that childhood food allergies are on the rise. In fact, a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics revealed an 18% increase in childhood food allergies from 1997 to 2007, associated with a high co-occurrence of conditions such as asthma, skin allergies and respiratory issues.

Just as interesting, another study published recently in Pediatrics looked at physicians’ knowledge of food allergies and found that many pediatricians had “misconceptions and conflicting ideas” about food allergies and how to diagnose and treat them. 

Food allergies involve a specific immune response in the body that produces a molecule known as immunoglobulin E, or IgE. This is the “true allergy,” as it’s sometimes referred to, but food sensitivity is a different type of allergic response known as a “delayed-response allergy”. This kind of allergy (also commonly referred to as a sensitivity or an intolerance) usually produces a delayed immune response and involves the release of a different molecule: immunoglobulin G (IgG). 

To help clear things up, the type of food allergy mentioned in the studies above is the “true allergy”, which affects an estimated four to six percent of all children in the U.S.  Food sensitivity, however, is much more common, and usually more difficult to detect. So if pediatricians aren’t clear about what a true food allergy is, they really need to get up to speed.

Thankfully though, as we see in grocery stores and read about in health publications, parents and natural health practitioners are taking matters into their own hands, using simple food sensitivity tests and elimination diets to help with food issues in children. My hope is that once the conventional medical community sees the positive results coming from these steps, they will eventually follow suit!

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