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A cross-sectional study of the prevalence of food allergies among children younger than ages 14 years in a Beijing urban region

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The prevalence of food allergies has increased over the past several decades, but little is known about this issue in Beijing.


The objectives of this study were to assess the prevalence of food allergies in the Beijing urban area and to summarize the clinical features and common food allergens in children <14 years of age.


We conducted a cross-sectional study of children ages 0‐14 years who were recruited from 10 kindergartens and 20 primary and middle schools in two communities in the central region (Xicheng district). After the administration of a screening questionnaire, those who reported symptoms of food allergies were interviewed for further diagnoses. All data were analyzed by using χ2 tests.


Of the 13,073 enrolled children, 423 children (3.2%) were deemed by physicians to probably have food allergies. The boys exhibited a significantly higher prevalence than did the girls (3.6 versus 2.9%, respectively, p < 0.05). Among the children with probable food allergies, 58.9% reported skin symptoms, which were the most frequently occurring symptom type. Preschool age was the most common onset age for food allergies, with a rate (41.8%) that was higher than those for infants (27.1%) and school-age children (31.1%) (p < 0.01). Fruit was the most commonly reported food allergen (46.8%). Food allergies due to milk and eggs mainly occurred during infancy, and fruit allergies occurred in preschool- and school-age children. The seafood allergy prevalences were nearly the same across the three age groups.


The total prevalence of probable food allergies in children <14 years of age in the Beijing urban area was 3.2%, and the prevalences were different between genders and among ages and foods. Skin symptoms were the most common manifestation. Fruit and seafood were the most common allergens.
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Keywords: Food allergy; children; food allergen; prevalence

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: From the Center for Asthma Prevention and Education, Capital Institute of Pediatrics, Beijing, China 2: Key Laboratory of Food Safety Risk Assessment, Institute of Food Health, Beijing, China

Publication date: January 1, 2019

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma and by having the potential to directly impact the quality of patient care. AAP welcomes the submission of original works including peer-reviewed original research and clinical trial results. Additionally, as the official journal of the Eastern Allergy Conference (EAC), AAP will publish content from EAC poster sessions as well as review articles derived from EAC lectures.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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