Food Allergy Statistics in Adults: A Growing Concern

There are a lot of data about food allergies in children, but until now, there hasn’t been much research done on how often food allergies appear after someone is an adult.
Recent data come from a 2015-2016 survey of more than 40,000 adults across the country that is one of the first to assess the general population for specific food allergy types and symptoms.

The results of that study in JAMA Network Open demonstrated:

  • One in 10 adults have a food allergy.
  • More than half (51.1%) have had a severe reaction.
  • Almost four in 10 (38.3%) report at least one reaction that required emergency care.
  • But only one in 20 with a convincing food allergy have a doctor-confirmed diagnosis.
  • And less than a quarter (24%) with a food allergy report a current epinephrine prescription.

Given the rise of allergies in children it makes sense that more adults have allergies, because those children are growing up. This is similar to the our findings that were published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology regarding nasal ocular allergies in children demonstrating of increased allergies and asthma was adult. The recent :
  • 48% of the adult population with a convincing food allergy reported getting at least one as an adult. (They may have had others as a child.)
  • But one out of 4 adults with a food allergy reported getting their first allergy in adulthood.

Researchers also discovered that nearly one in five, or 19%, of adults think they have a food allergy, but researchers say the symptoms they reported may actually be consistent with other food-related conditions. Possible causes outside of a true food allergy may include intolerances, sensitivities, oral allergy syndrome, and many others.

Please check our other blog on Food Allergen Labeling Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) of 2004 for more details!

Rates of all allergies, no matter when they started, have been reported too be increased in adults for a variety of other foods including:
  • Milk (4.7 million people)
  • Peanut (4.5 million people)
  • Tree nut (3 million people)
  • Fin fish (2.2 million people)
  • Egg (2 million people)
  • Wheat (2 million people)
  • Soy (1.5 million people)
  • Sesame (0.5 million people).