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"40% of people think they have an allergy"

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“40% of people think they have an allergy”

We launched Making Sense of Allergies last week. Our communication about the extent and perception of allergy in developed countries said that “One study found 40% of people report they have a food allergy.” We need to correct that to 38.4% of people said they thought they had a food allergy. This had been referred to as 40% by someone working with us on the guide and that figure got into our publication announcement (though not into the guide itself).

That it was just one study1 which showed 38.4% was not clear in some of the reporting and in some of our communication too. In fact studies have shown varying rates across the world: research done on the Isle of Wight2 found 34% of parents thought their children had a food allergy; a study of Norwegian parents3 found that 35% of them reported an allergy in their children. A meta-analysis4 from 2007 of food allergy perception that included developing countries produced lower rates of around 12% for children and 13% for adults.

1. Roehr CC et al. (2004) Food allergy and non-allergic food hypersensitivity in children and adolescents. Clinical and Experimental Allergy 34:1534-41

 2. Venter C et al. (2008) Prevalence and cumulative incidence of food hypersensitivity in the first 3 years of life. Allergy 63:354-359

3. Eggesbo M et al. (1999) Prevalence of parentally perceived adverse reactions to food in young children. Paediatric Allergy and Immunology 10: 122-132

4. Rona RJ et al. (2007) The prevalence of food allergy: A meta-analysis. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 120: 638-646

Document type: For The Record

Published: 10 June 2015

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Source: Sense About Science

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