Trends in allergic conditions among children: United States, 1997-2011

NCHS Data Brief. 2013 May;(121):1-8.


Allergic conditions are among the most common medical conditions affecting children in the United States (1-5). An allergic condition is a hypersensitivity disorder in which the immune system reacts to substances in the environment that are normally considered harmless (6,7). Food or digestive allergies, skin allergies (such as eczema), and respiratory allergies (such as hay fever) are the most common allergies among children. Allergies can affect a child's physical and emotional health and can interfere with daily activities, such as sleep, play, and attending school (8,9). A severe allergic reaction with rapid onset, anaphylaxis, can be life threatening. Foods represent the most common cause of anaphylaxis among children and adolescents (10,11). Early detection and appropriate interventions can help to decrease the negative impact of allergies on quality of life (6). This report presents recent trends in the prevalence of allergies and differences by selected sociodemographic characteristics for children under age 18 years.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Age Distribution
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / epidemiology
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / ethnology
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Food Hypersensitivity / epidemiology
  • Food Hypersensitivity / ethnology
  • Health Surveys
  • Hispanic Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / epidemiology*
  • Hypersensitivity / ethnology*
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Prevalence
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / ethnology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States / epidemiology