Oct. 23 -- WEDNESDAY, Oct. 22 (HealthDay News) -- The number of American kids with food allergies has soared 18 percent in the last decade, with an estimated 4 percent of children and teens now affected with the condition, a new federal report says.
In 2007, approximately 3 million children under the age of 18 were reported to have had a food or digestive allergy in the previous 12 months, compared to slightly more than 2.3 million children (3.3 percent) in 1997, according to the report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Eight types of foods account for 90 percent of all food allergies -- milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat. Allergic reactions to these foods can range from a tingling sensation around the mouth and lips, to hives and even death, depending on the severity of the reaction, the report's authors said.
The report also said that children with food allergies are two to four times more likely to have asthma or other allergies, compared to children without food allergies.
It's not really known how a person develops a food allergy. They are more common in children than adults, and the majority of children with food allergies will "outgrow" them as they get older. But for some, a food allergy can become a lifelong concern, the report said.
Other highlights in the report:
The findings in the report, titled Food Allergy Among U.S. Children: Trends in Prevalence and Hospitalizations, were derived from statistics from the National Health Interview Survey and the National Hospital Discharge Survey, both conducted by CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.
To read the full report, visit the CDC.
SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news release, Oct. 22, 2008