A study, published in the March issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, found that children's food allergies are gradually increasing, but they may be doubling among black children. Between 1988 and 2011, self reported food allergies increased among black children at a rate of 2.1 percent every 10 years. The study, which followed more than 450,000 children concluded that food allergies increased at a rate of just 1.2 percent each decade among Hispanics and 1 percent every 10 years among white children.
Although African Americans generally have higher levels of IgE -- the antibody the immune system creates more of when one has an allergy -- it is only recently that they have reported food allergy more frequently than white children. It remains unclear if this sharp increase among black children is the result of better detection or some trigger in the environment.