Reducing childhood obesity may have yet another benefit: lowering the incidence of food allergies.
Researchers studying more than 4,000 children ages 2 to 19 enrolled in a larger survey of childhood health found a significant association of overweight and obesity with allergic reactions to eggs, peanuts and other common allergens. For example, overweight and obese children were over 50 percent more likely than those of normal weight to be allergic to milk. Over all, the obese and overweight children were about 25 percent more likely to have one or more food allergies.
“While there’s nothing conclusive about our findings,” said Cindy M. Visness, the lead author, “this is one more motivation to try to prevent obesity in children.” Dr. Visness is an epidemiologist with Rho Inc., a company that provides research and statistical services for clinical trials.
The scientists also found an association between being overweight and levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation, which suggests that systemic inflammation may also play a role in the development of allergies. The authors acknowledge that their study, published in the May issue of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, does not prove that obesity causes allergies, and that other explanations for the association are possible.
Source: NY Times