Jaw-Dropping 300 Percent Increase in Food Allergy Hospitalizations
The Associated Press reported today that there has indeed been an increase in food allergies in the last ten years (though any preschool teacher, parent or caregiver could have told you the same thing!).
According to the Center for Disease Control, today it is now estimated that at least 3 million American children suffer from food allergies, though AllergyKids questions how the study was conducted and its impact on underestimating the scope of the problem:
“The CDC results came from an in-person, door-to-door survey in 2007 of the households of 9,500 U.S. children under age 18.
When asked if a child in the house had any kind of food allergy in the previous 12 months, about 4 percent said yes. The parents were not asked if a doctor had made the diagnosis, and no medical records were checked. Some parents may not know the difference between immune system-based food allergies and digestive disorders like lactose intolerance, so it’s possible the study’s findings are a bit off.”
Perhaps a more accurate assessment can be gleaned from the CDC report and the jaw-dropping number of hospitalizations resulting from food allergic reactions over this same time period:
“The study also found that the number of children hospitalized for food allergies was up. The number of hospital discharges jumped from about 2,600 a year in the late 1990s to more than 9,500 annually in recent years, the CDC results showed.”
An increase from 2,600 to 9,500 suggests an increase of almost 300%. Is this estimate a more accurate reflection of the growing epidemic? And what burden will this present not only to our children, but to our schools, our health care system and our economy as a whole?
The first step on the road to healing: admitting we have a problem.
Houston, we have a problem.