The prevalence of food hypersensitivity in young adults

Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2009 Nov;20(7):686-92. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3038.2008.00842.x. Epub 2009 Jul 7.


rising prevalence of food hypersensitivity (FHS) and severe allergic reactions to foods have been reported in the last decade. However, little is known on the prevalence in young adults. This study estimated the prevalence of FHS to the most common allergenic foods in an unselected population of young adults. We investigated a cohort of 1272 young adults 22 years of age by questionnaire, skin prick test (SPT) and histamin release (HR) followed by oral challenge to the most common allergenic foods. FHS was divided into primary and secondary FHS. Primary FHS was defined as being independent of pollen sensitization, whereas secondary FHS was defined as reactions to pollen related fruits and vegetables in pollen allergic patients. The questionnaire was returned by 77.1%. Primary FHS was reported by 19.6% and secondary FHS by 16.7% of the participants. Confirmed primary FHS by oral challenge was 1.7% [1.1% - 2.95%]. In primary FHS, the most common allergenic food was peanut (0.6%) followed by additives (0.5%), shrimp (0.2%), codfish (0.1%), cow's milk (0.1%), octopus (0.1%) and soy (0.1%). In secondary FHS, kiwi allergy was reported by 7.8% of the participants followed by hazelnut (6.6%), pineapple (4.4%), apple (4.3%), orange (4.2%), tomato (3.8%), peach (3.0%) and brazil nut (2.7%). This study found a 1.7% [1.1% - 2.95%] prevalence of primary FHS confirmed by oral challenge to the most common allergenic foods in an unselected population of young adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Cohort Studies
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Food Hypersensitivity / diagnosis
  • Food Hypersensitivity / epidemiology*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / etiology
  • Fruit / immunology
  • Histamine Release
  • Humans
  • Milk Hypersensitivity
  • Octopodiformes / immunology
  • Peanut Hypersensitivity / epidemiology
  • Penaeidae / immunology
  • Prevalence
  • Skin Tests
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vegetables / immunology
  • Young Adult