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June 12, 2006

Australian Study Shows Nut Allergies Doubled

Source: news.com.au

The number of children with allergic reactions to nuts has doubled in the past 15 years based on a new study which found 86 per cent of all childcare centres had at least one child with a potentially fatal food allergy.

Parents with children suffering from food allergies have expressed concern that school yards are one of their greatest fears because of the risk their children may be exposed to something that will cause a severe or fatal reaction.

Food allergies impact on 6 per cent of people and eight foods account for 90 per cent of all food-allergic reactions. These are: milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts (walnut, cashew, etc.), fish, shellfish, soy and wheat.

Misunderstandings of food allergies have directly lead to the death of people from anaphylaxis.

Anne Swain, head dietician at Sydney's Prince Alfred Hospital Allergy Clinic, said there was clear evidence more children were suffering from food allergies compared with 15 years ago.

"We have just completed a survey at Prince Alfred Hospital and 2 per cent of all children under five have a peanut allergy – previously it was less than 1 per cent," Ms Swain said.

"It's not just more awareness of food allergies. There is definitely an increase. The survey showed that egg and milk allergies have not increased, but nut allergies have doubled.

"There are a whole lot of theories why. One of the main ones is there are more nuts in our environment.

"People choosing vegetarian diets eat more nuts – there are more nuts in breakfast cereals and people are using peanut butter as a spread for small children."


Posted by David at June 12, 2006 7:55 AM