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Food allergy link to weight

Tues May 5th, 2009

Children who have allergies to food are much more likely than others to be obese, researchers have warned.

A new study has found a link between childhood obesity and allergy - although it is unclear which problem causes the other.

Researchers found that obese children are 26 per cent more likely to suffer from allergies than children of a healthy weight.

According to the researchers, from the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, most of these allergies seem to be against food - with obese children being 59 per cent more likely than others to react to food.

Although the research may seem to indicate that obesity causes allergy, it could also mean the reverse - that children with allergies face an increased risk of putting on weight.

The findings are reported in the May issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and come from a study of more than 4,000 children and teenagers.

Researcher Dr Darryl Zeldin said: "While the results from this study are interesting, they do not prove that obesity causes allergies. More research is needed to further investigate this potential link."

Fellow researcher Dr Cynthia Visness added: "Given that the prevalence of both obesity and allergic disease has increased among children over the last several decades, it is important to understand and, if possible, prevent these epidemics."

Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. May, 2009. Doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2008.12.1126.

Tags: Allergies & Asthma | Child Health | Diet & Food | North America

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