School Nuts study reports adolescents dicing with food allergy

The School Nuts study, conducted by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, is a cross-sectional population-based study that aims to measure the prevalence of food allergy in the early adolescent age group.

Adolescents are at the highest risk of death from anaphylaxis, yet few population-based studies have investigated the reasons behind this, which may include greater risk-taking behaviour, or less confidence or skill to interpret food labelling information. SchoolNuts is one of the first studies to seek better understanding of the risk factors for recurrent and severe accidental food ingestion reactions in this group.

From an entire cohort of almost 10,000 students aged 10 to 14 years, 547 children had a food allergy. Of this group, 44 per cent had experienced an allergic reaction in the past year, while almost 10 per cent reported a potentially life-threatening anaphylactic reaction. Fifty-three students reported 93 anaphylaxis episodes. Peanut and tree nuts were the most common food triggers

Those with asthma and more than 2 food allergies were at the greatest risk for adverse food reactions. Those with nut allergies were most at risk of severe reactions.

Reference: McWilliam et al. 2017 Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. pii: S0091-6749(17)31571-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2017.09.012.