AllerGen Network research into Canadian allergy prevalence

“Surveying Prevalence of Food Allergy in All Canadian Environments (SPAACE)” is a Canadian study conducted by researchers from the Allergy, Genes and Environment (AllerGen) Network. It aimed to estimate the prevalence of food allergy among vulnerable Canadians, including those with low income, those with low education, new Canadians and individuals of Aboriginal identity

Self-reported allergy prevalence data was collected from 5,734 households, representing over 15,000 individuals from low income, immigrant and Aboriginal populations across Canada.

The findings showed that Canadians with lower education and new Canadians (individuals who immigrated to Canada within the last 10 years) have fewer food allergies than the general population. The study also found that there were no differences in the prevalence of food allergy according to income or Aboriginal status. In a previous AllerGen-funded study, the authors found that 8% of Canadians self-report a food allergy and prevalence differs across socioeconomic groups and geographic regions.

Although immigrants were less likely to experience food allergy, the self-reporting of food allergy increased by 2% with each additional year of residence in Canada.

According to media reports associated with the publication of the study, the findings support the ‘healthy immigrant effect,’ which states that new Canadians tend to have a low prevalence of chronic conditions, but their health status worsens with time and eventually converges with that of the Canadian-born population.

Reference: Soller et al. 2014 Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaip.2014.06.009

Open access to the full paper: www.jaci-inpractice.org/article/S2213-2198(14)00268-2/pdf

Media release:www.allergen-nce.ca/documents/SPAACE.pdf