Stability of parent-reported food allergy in six and 7-year-old children: the first 5 years of the Finnish allergy programme.
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The Finnish national allergy programme was introduced in 2008 to decrease the burden of allergy in the population. This study, carried out in 2013, evaluated the prevalence of parent-reported food allergies, treated with an avoidance diet until early school age, and discussed the rates in relation to those found in an identical study in 2009.
School health nurses used a structured questionnaire to interview the parents of 1653 children aged of six or seven in the first year of elementary school. The criterion for a parent-reported food allergy was that the parents considered it necessary for their child to follow an avoidance diet at school.
In 2013, 6.1% of the children were allergic to at least one food and 2.5% of the children were allergic to basic foods, such as cows' milk, eggs and wheat, compared with 2.7% in 2009. A significant decrease was seen in allergies to nuts, fruits and vegetables.
Parent-reported allergies to basic foods, such as cow's milk, eggs and wheat, remained rather stable in first graders of elementary schools during the first 5 years of the Finnish national allergy programme, but allergies to nuts, fruits and vegetables decreased.