Clinical Edge

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Food Allergy Severity Among US Adults

JAMA Netw Open; 2019 Jan 4; Gupta, et al

Better than 1 in 10 US adults are food allergic, whereas nearly 19% of adults believe that they have a food allergy, according to a new cross-sectional survey study. Surveys were administered via the Internet and telephone from October 9, 2015, to September 18, 2016. The primary outcome were self-reported food allergies and were considered convincing if reported symptoms to specific allergens were consistent with IgE-mediated reactions. Diagnosis history to specific allergens and food allergy-related health care use were also primary outcomes. Among the findings:

  • Surveys were completed by 40,443 adults (mean age, 46.6 years), with a survey completion rate of 51.2%.
  • Estimated convincing food allergy prevalence among US adults was 10.8% (>26 million); however, 19.0% of adults self-reported a food allergy.
  • Nearly half of food-allergic adults had at least 1 adult-onset food allergy, and 38% reported at least 1 food allergy-related emergency department visit in their lifetime.


Gupta RS, Warren CM, Smith BM, et al. Prevalence and severity of food allergies among US adults. JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(1):e185630. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.5630.