Food allergies among children are on the rise, although no one is sure the reason. But researchers have added another piece to the puzzle: City kids suffer food allergies at a rate more than 50 percent higher than children in rural areas.
The study, conducted by researchers at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, shows that peanut allergies, for example, are more than twice as prevalent in cities than rural parts of the country. The rate of shellfish allergies triples in big cities.
Nevada, Florida, Georgia, Alaska, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Washington, D.C., were among the places with the highest rates of food allergies.
“We have found for the first time that higher population density corresponds with a greater likelihood of food allergies in children,” says study author Dr. Ruchi Gupta. “This shows that environment has an impact on developing food allergies.”