National allergy programme had little impact on parent-reported food allergies in children aged 6-7 years.
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The ten-year Finnish national allergy programme was launched in 2008 to lessen the disease and psychological burden of allergy. This study assessed the prevalence of parent-reported food allergies requiring avoidance diets at primary school in children aged six and seven years.
The cohort comprised 1,937 children (51% boys) who started primary school in Tampere, Finland in August 2016. School health nurses charted parent-reported, doctor-diagnosed food allergies requiring avoidance diets as part of the routine health examination.
We found that 127 (6.6%) children had parent-reported, doctor-diagnosed allergies to at least one food and 37 (1.9%) were allergic to basic foods, namely cows' milk, wheat and one other grain. All required an avoidance diet. The figure did not differ significantly from the 2.7% and 2.5% found by studies of this age group in 2009 and 2013, respectively. Allergies to fresh fruit and vegetables decreased from 5.8% in 2009 to 3.6% in 2016.
We studied the national allergy programme that started in 2008 and found that there was a non-significant overall decrease in the number of children aged 6-7 on avoidance diets for allergies between 2009-2016. The only allergies that showed signficiant decreases were fresh fruit and vegetables. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.