Fighting for Food Allergies
Suzanne Boothby probably never expected to be writing a book about food allergies, diet and cancer, but as a chef who has a dad that is a cancer physician, she felt compelled to do just that. Suzanne also writes for EmpowerHER, a website that helps inspire women and her recent article on that site caught our attention. You can see the full piece here, but we share Suzanne’s insights in part below.
The largest study of food allergies in U.S. children released on June 20, 2011 demonstrated that the medical community is catching up to advocates by assessing the issue. Researchers found that allergies may be more common and more dangerous than previously recognized.
The study surveyed almost 40,000 parents across the country about whether their child had been either diagnosed with a food allergy or had experienced symptoms of food allergies. From the surveys, researchers at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine now estimate that about 8 percent, or 6 million children, now have a food allergy and many children have more than one allergy.
This research also offers new estimates on the severity of food allergies, showing that almost 40 percent of kids with food allergiesexperience severe reactions like wheezing, difficulty breathing and even sudden drops in blood pressure. Less severe reactions include lip swelling and hives.
“I don’t think people quite understand food allergy,” said study researcher Ruchi S. Gupta, MD, MPH, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago in a WebMD article.
“It could be something that’s life-threatening. It could cause death.”
Food allergies were highest in preschoolers aged 3 to 5 years old. The top three allergens were peanuts, milk and shellfish, according to the study.
A food allergy is typically defined as any abnormal response to food triggered by the body’s immune system. But the medical literature is still slow to agree on a universal definition, making estimates of food allergies lower until now.
Suzanne Boothby is a Brooklyn-based wellness writer, certified health coach and co-founder of New York Family Wellness. Visitwww.suzanneboothby.com to learn more.