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New approaches needed for food allergies in minority children



Programs tailored according to culture and socioeconomic background can overcome food allergies that are worse in African American and Hispanic children, compared with their white counterparts, an expert said.

These ethnic groups have higher odds of food sensitization compared with whites, and an analysis of the U.S. National Mortality Database found a higher rate of food-related anaphylaxis that turned fatal more often among African-Americans than among whites, Mahboobeh Mahdavinia, MD, PhD, an allergist and immunologist at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, said at the joint congress of the American Academy of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology and the World Asthma Organization.

A display of allergenic foods ©piotr_malczyk/Thinkstock
And that might not be the worst of it.

The “sadder news,” she said, is that the rate of fatal food-related anaphylaxis has been getting worse with time. Rates of fatal food-related anaphylaxis per million significantly increased in African American males from the period of 1999-2001 (.06), compared with 2008-2010 (.21) (P less than .001). Fatal anaphylaxis caused by food was significantly associated with African American race (P less than .001) (J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2014 Dec;134[6]:1318-28.e7).

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