Study says 1 in 13 US children have food allergy

CHICAGO - A new study suggests that food allergies affect more children than government health officials estimated.

The advocacy group-funded study in the journal Pediatrics says one in 13 children in the U.S. has some type of food allergy , and researchers say 40 percent of those children suffer severe reactions. Typical signs of a true food allergy include skin rashes, wheezing, tightness in the throat or difficulty breathing.

In the study of more than 40,000 children, 8 percent had food allergies, and peanuts and milk were the most common sources.

The most recent estimate from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that about 3 million children had food allergies.

Figures from this new study translate to nearly 6 million children. Dr. Calman Prussin, an investigator with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says that figure "confirms that food allergy is a substantial public health problem."

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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