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City kids more likely to have food allergies than rural ones: study

(Xinhua)

10:43, June 12, 2012

WASHINGTON, June 7 (Xinhua) -- Children living in urban centers have a much higher prevalence of food allergies than those living in rural areas, according to a new study to be published in the July issue of Clinical Pediatrics. In particular, kids in big cities are more than twice as likely to have peanut and shellfish allergies compared to rural communities.

The study included 38,465 children, 18 years and under, who comprised a representative sample of U.S. households. Their food allergies were mapped by ZIP code.

The findings include: In urban centers, 9.8 percent of children have food allergies, compared to 6.2 percent in rural communities, almost a 3.5-percent difference; Peanut allergies are twice as prevalent in urban centers as in rural communities, with 2.8 percent of children having the allergy in urban centers compared to 1.3 percent in rural communities; Shellfish allergies are more than double the prevalence in urban versus rural areas; 2.4 percent of children have shellfish allergies in urban centers compared to 0.8 percent in rural communities.

Food allergies are equally severe regardless of where a child lives, the study found. Nearly 40 percent of food-allergic children in the study had already experienced a severe, life- threatening reaction to food.

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