Reported symptoms of food hypersensitivity and sensitization to common foods in 4-year-old children

Acta Paediatr. 2008 Jan;97(1):85-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2007.00556.x. Epub 2007 Dec 10.


Aim: To characterize reported food hypersensitivity (FHS) among young children in a birth cohort.

Methods: At 4 years of age a parental questionnaire on FHS and allergic symptoms was evaluated. Blood was collected for analyses of IgE-antibodies to egg, milk, fish, wheat, peanut and soy. Complete questionnaire data was available for 3694 children (90%), and blood samples were obtained from 2563 children (63%).

Results: FHS was reported in 11% of the children (n=397). Eczema was the most commonly reported symptom and the only symptom in half of these children. Food-related reactions from the airways, facial oedema or urticaria were reported in 198 children, and the majority of these children (75%) reported multiple symptoms. Furthermore, a combination of airway symptoms, facial oedema or urticaria together with sensitization to food suggested a more severe form of FHS. This was found in 1.6% of all children. Symptoms caused by peanut were closely associated with sensitization to peanut (p<0.001).

Conclusions: FHS in 4-year-old children with any of asthma, rhino-conjunctivitis, facial oedema or urticaria in combination is in most cases associated to sensitization to food. This phenotype of FHS is likely to represent a more severe form of FHS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Food Hypersensitivity / blood
  • Food Hypersensitivity / diagnosis*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Male
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Immunoglobulin E