Food allergen sensitization in inner-city children with asthma

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2005 May;115(5):1076-80. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2005.02.014.


Background: Asthma continues to be an increasing cause of morbidity in the pediatric population, and studies have shown an association between food sensitivity and asthma.

Objective: We investigated the degree of food allergen sensitization in inner-city patients with asthma.

Methods: Five hundred four random serum samples from the National Cooperative Inner City Asthma Study were evaluated for specific IgE (UniCap) to 6 common food allergens (egg, milk, soy, peanut, wheat, and fish). Statistical analyses were performed to determine food sensitization prevalence and its association with asthma morbidity.

Results: Forty-five percent of patients had evidence of sensitization (food-specific IgE > or = 0.35 kU/L) to at least 1 food. Nineteen percent had IgE levels at > or = 50% positive predictive value for clinical reactivity to at least 1 food, with 4% of patients having levels > 95% positive predictive value for food allergy. Children sensitized to foods had higher rates of asthma hospitalization (P < .01) and required more steroid medications (P = .025). Sensitization to foods also correlated with sensitization to more indoor and outdoor aeroallergens (P < .001).

Conclusion: Food allergen sensitization is highly prevalent in the inner-city population with asthma, and it is associated with increased asthma healthcare and medication use. Therefore, food allergen sensitivity may be a marker for increased asthma severity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Arachis / immunology
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Asthma / etiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis
  • Fishes / immunology
  • Food Hypersensitivity / blood
  • Food Hypersensitivity / complications
  • Food Hypersensitivity / epidemiology*
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Immunization*
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Milk / immunology
  • Morbidity
  • Ovum / immunology
  • Risk Factors
  • Soybeans / immunology
  • Triticum / immunology
  • United States
  • Urban Population


  • Immunoglobulin E