We all know that children can be notoriously picky when it comes to food, but for kids with severe food allergies an extremely limited diet can be a life saver. Current data shows that close to 7 percent of all kids in the United States have food allergies, well over double the number reported a decade ago. This upward trend was reported in several new studies which show food allergies, especially to peanut and tree nuts are still on the rise among kids. Yet despite the wealth of information proving the increase in these cases, researches can’t seem to figure out why the numbers are growing.
“I think it’s a big puzzle that we still don’t fully understand,” says Dale Umetsu, MD, PhD, of Children’s Hospital Boston’s Allergy Program and Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. “Clearly there are changes in our environment that are causing this increase but we don’t know which ones; it could be a slew of different factors.”