There are little data regarding the frequency of different foods that cause hypersensitivity in the UK. Furthermore, there are no data regarding food hypersensitivity related to ethnic variations. This prospective study involved 76 children with IgE-mediated food allergy presenting consecutively over 18 months to a Paediatric Allergy Clinic serving a well-defined population that is 21% non-Caucasian. A total of 52.6% of the paediatric allergy clinic population was non-Caucasian compared with 35.9% in General Paediatric Clinics giving a mean difference in percentage of 16.7 (5.6, 27.8), p < 0.01. The average number of food allergens per child in the non-Caucasian group was 2.05 vs. 1.22 in the Caucasian group, mean difference 0.83, which is significant (t = 4.15, d.f. = 74, p < 0.01). Analysis of other allergic conditions revealed no significant increase in the non-Caucasian group. The mean age of first reaction to any food was 2.6 yr (range 0.3-12 yr) in Caucasian, and 1.7 yr (range 0.3-8 yr) in non-Caucasian, children (p < 0.05). There were 125 reactions in the study population, with egg, peanut, tree nut, cow milk and cod being the commonest food allergens. Some novel foods, such as kiwi, lentil and sesame, were also represented in the top 10 food allergies, particularly in the non-Caucasian population. Ethnic minorities are over-represented in terms of the number of children with food allergy and number of food allergies per child, present at an earlier age with food allergy, and possibly have a greater variety of food allergies compared with Caucasians. This is important in terms of health education. Our findings need confirmation by a more detailed population based study, ideally using food challenges in addition to history and skin prick testing.
- Child, Preschool
- European Continental Ancestry Group
- Food Hypersensitivity
- Prospective Studies