Food Allergy: A Comprehensive Population-Based Cohort Study

Erin K. Willits, Miguel A. Park, Martha F. Hartz, Cathy D. Schleck, Amy L. Weaver, Avni Y. Joshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the incidence and temporal trends of food allergies. Patients and Methods: We performed a historical cohort study to describe the epidemiology of food allergies among residents of all ages in Olmsted County, Minnesota, during a 10-year period from January 2, 2002, through December 31, 2011, using the Rochester Epidemiology Project database. Overall incidence and trends in biannual incidence rates over time were evaluated. Results: During the 10-year study period, 578 new cases of food allergies were diagnosed. The average annual incidence rate was significantly higher among males compared with females (4.1 [95% CI, 3.6-4.5] vs 3.0 [95% CI, 2.7-3.4]; P<.001; per 10,000 person-years; 3.6 per 10,000 person-years overall). The pediatric incidence rate of food allergy increased from 7.0 (95% CI, 6.2-8.9) to 13.3 (95% CI, 10.9-15.7) per 10,000 person-years between the 2002-2003 and 2006-2007 calendar periods and then stabilized at 12.5 and 12.1 per 10,000 person-years in the last 2 calendar periods. Milk, peanut, and seafood were the most common allergen in infancy, in children between ages 1 and 4 years, and in the adult population, respectively. Conclusion: This is one of the first population-based studies to examine the temporal trends of food allergies. The incidence of food allergies increased markedly between 2002 and 2009, with stabilization afterward. Additional longitudinal studies are warranted to assess for epidemiological evidence of changes in food allergy incidence with changing recommendations for allergenic food introduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1423-1430
Number of pages8
JournalMayo Clinic proceedings
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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