The prevalence of food, respiratory, and skin allergy is greater in U.S. children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) than in U.S. children without the disorder, according to findings published June 8 in.
An analysis of data from the National Health Interview Survey found that the weighted prevalence of food, respiratory, and skin allergies was 11.25%, 18.73%, and 16.81%, respectively, in children with ASD, compared with 4.25%, 12.08%, and 9.84%, respectively, in children without ASD (P less than .001).
Survey data were collected between 1997 and 2016, and included patients aged 3-17 years. Allergic conditions were defined by the respondent, usually a parent, answering in the affirmative that the child had any kind of food, digestive, respiratory, or skin allergy in the past 12 months. ASD was defined based on an affirmative response to a question asking whether the child received an ASD diagnosis from a health professional. The question was asked as part of a 10-condition checklist from 1997 to 2013, and as a standalone item from 2014 onward, with revised wording to distinguish autism, Asperger’s disorder, pervasive developmental disorder, and ASD, wrote, of the department of epidemiology at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, and her coauthors.
Of the 199,520 children included in the study, 8,734 had food allergy, 24,555 had respiratory allergy, and 19,399 had skin allergy. An ASD diagnosis was reported in 1,868 children. The weighted prevalence was 4.31% for food allergy (95% confidence interval, 4.20%-4.43%), 12.15% for respiratory allergy (95% CI, 11.92%-12.38%), and 9.91% for skin allergy (95% CI, 9.72%-10.10%), the authors said.
Children with ASD were more likely than were children without ASD to have food allergy, respiratory allergy, and skin allergy (P less than .001). After adjustment for factors including age, sex, ethnicity, and family education level, the odds ratio of ASD was more than double among children with food allergy, compared with those without food allergy (odds ratio, 2.72; 95% CI, 2.26-3.28; P less than .001).
Respiratory allergy and skin allergy also were significantly associated with ASD, but to a lesser degree, with an OR of 1.53 (95% CI, 1.32-1.78; P less than .001) for respiratory allergy and 1.80 (95% CI, 1.55-2.09; P less than .001) for skin allergy, Dr. Xu and her colleagues reported.
,” though the underlying mechanisms still need to be identified, the authors wrote.