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Food allergies more prevalent in city kids

Researchers report that children living in cities may be at higher risk for food allergies.

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New research out of Northwestern University says children living in cities may be more prone to food allergies. (Guang Niu/AFP/Getty Images)

Food allergies are more prevalent in children living in cities, new research has found.

The study conducted by Northwestern University mapped children's food allergies by surveying nearly 38,500 parents whose children were younger than 18. The research group asked for their zip codes and details on their child's food allergy.

According to CBS News, the researchers determined that in urban areas, nearly 9.8 percent of children had food allergies, compared with 6.2 percent of children in rural communities.

More specifically the group found that city children were twice as likely to have peanut (2.8 percent compared to 1.3 percent) and shellfish allergies (2.4 percent compared to 0.8 percent) compared to children living in rural communities.

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"That's a big discrepancy. What we've found for the first time is that population density and environment have an impact," Dr. Ruchi Gupta, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a lead author of the study, told the Chicago Tribune.

MSNBC also noted that previous studies found that city dwellers have higher rates of other types of allergies, such as asthma, eczema and hay fever.

Nevada, Florida, Georgia, Alaska, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and the District of Columbia all had the highest prevalence of food-allergic kids. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/wildlife-news/120608/food-allergies-more-prevalent-city-kids