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1997 to 2011 Saw Increase in Allergies Among U.S. Children

FRIDAY, May 3 (HealthDay News) -- For U.S. children aged younger than 18 years, the prevalence of allergies increased from 1997 to 2011, with age, race/ethnicity, and income all affecting the prevalence, according to a May data brief issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

Kristen D. Jackson, M.P.H., and colleagues from the NCHS in Hyattsville, Md., reviewed data from the National Health Interview Surveys from 1997 to 1999 and from 2009 to 2011 to examine the prevalence of food and skin allergies in U.S. children younger than age 18 years.

According to the report, from 1997 to 2011 there was an increase in the prevalence of food and skin allergies among U.S. children. The prevalence of skin allergies decreased, while respiratory allergies increased with increasing age. The prevalence of food, skin, and respiratory allergies was lower among Hispanic children than among other races or ethnicities. Compared with non-Hispanic white children, non-Hispanic black children were less likely to have respiratory allergies and more likely to have skin allergies. The prevalence of food and respiratory allergies increased with income level, with children with family income equivalent to 200 percent or more of the poverty level experiencing the highest prevalence of allergy.

"Among children under age 18 years in the United States, the prevalence of food and skin allergies increased from 1997-1999 to 2009-2011," the authors write.

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