Food hypersensitivity is common in Swedish schoolchildren, especially oral reactions to fruit and gastrointestinal reactions to milk.
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This study examined the prevalence, symptom expression and risk factors for food hypersensitivity among Swedish schoolchildren.
Parents of 2,585 (96% of invited) children aged seven to eight years completed a questionnaire regarding food hypersensitivity and allergic diseases. A random sample of 1,700 children (90% of invited) also participated in skin-prick-testing with ten airborne allergens.
The overall prevalence of reported food hypersensitivity to milk, egg, fish, wheat, soy, fruits and, or, nuts was 21%, with symptoms caused by milk (9%) being the most common. The most frequently reported symptoms were oral symptoms (47.4%), mainly caused by fruit, and gastrointestinal symptoms (45.7%), mainly caused by milk. Factors associated with any food hypersensitivity were female sex, allergic heredity and a positive skin prick test. Eczema was consistently associated with symptoms caused by milk, egg, fish, wheat, soy, fruits and nuts. Rhinitis was associated to the same foods, except milk.
Reported food hypersensitivity was common among Swedish schoolchildren. The most frequent symptom expressions were oral symptoms triggered by fruits and gastrointestinal symptoms triggered by milk. The high prevalence of reported symptoms should be validated by clinical examinations to provide a diagnosis. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.