Frequency of food allergy in Europe: an updated systematic review and meta-analysis

Giulia C I Spolidoro, Yohannes Tesfaye Amera, Mohamed Mustafa Ali, Sungkutu Nyassi, Daniil Lisik, Athina Ioannidou, Graciela Rovner, Ekaterina Khaleva, Carina Venter, Ronald van Ree, Margitta Worm, Berber Vlieg-Boerstra, Aziz Sheikh, Antonella Muraro, Graham Roberts, Bright I Nwaru

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Food allergy (FA) is increasingly reported in Europe, however the latest prevalence estimates were based on studies published a decade ago. The present work provides the most updated estimates of the prevalence and trends of FA in Europe. Databases were searched for studies published between 2012 and 2021, added to studies published up to 2012. In total, 110 studies were included in this update. Most studies were graded as moderate risk of bias. Pooled lifetime and point prevalence of self-reported FA were 19.9% (95% CI 16.6-23.3) and 13.1% (95% CI 11.3-14.8), respectively. The point prevalence of sensitization based on specific IgE (slgE) was 16.6% (95% CI 12.3-20.8), skin prick test (SPT) 5.7% (95% CI 3.9-7.4), and positive food challenge 0.8% (95% CI 0.5-0.9). While lifetime prevalence of self-reported FA and food challenge positivity only slightly changed, the point prevalence of self-reported FA, sIgE and SPT positivity increased from previous estimates. This may reflect a real increase, increased awareness, increased number of foods assessed, or increased number of studies from countries with less data in the first review. Future studies require rigorous designs and implementation of standardized methodology in diagnosing FA, including use of double-blinded placebo-controlled food challenge to minimize potential biases.

Original languageEnglish
Early online date22 Oct 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Oct 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Europe
  • epidemiology
  • food allergy
  • sensitization
  • systematic review


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