Prevalence of common food allergies in Europe: a systematic review and meta-analysis

EAACI Food Allergy Anaphylaxis, B. I. Nwaru, L. Hickstein, S. S. Panesar, G. Roberts, A. Muraro, A. Sheikh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

Abstract

Allergy to cow's milk, egg, wheat, soy, peanut, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish constitutes the majority of food allergy reactions, but reliable estimates of their prevalence are lacking. This systematic review aimed to provide up-to-date estimates of their prevalence in Europe. Studies published in Europe from January 1, 2000, to September 30, 2012, were identified from searches of four electronic databases. Two independent reviewers appraised the studies and extracted the estimates of interest. Data were pooled using random-effects meta-analyses. Fifty studies were included in a narrative synthesis and 42 studies in the meta-analyses. Although there were significant heterogeneity between the studies, the overall pooled estimates for all age groups of self-reported lifetime prevalence of allergy to cow's milk, egg, wheat, soy, peanut, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish were 6.0% (95% confidence interval: 5.7-6.4), 2.5% (2.3-2.7), 3.6% (3.0-4.2), 0.4% (0.3-0.6), 1.3% (1.2-1.5), 2.2% (1.8-2.5), and 1.3% (0.9-1.7), respectively. The prevalence of food-challenge-defined allergy to cow's milk, egg, wheat, soy, peanut, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish was 0.6% (0.5-0.8), 0.2% (0.2-0.3), 0.1% (0.01-0.2), 0.3% (0.1-0.4), 0.2% (0.2-0.3), 0.5% (0.08-0.8), 0.1% (0.02-0.2), and 0.1% (0.06-0.3), respectively. Allergy to cow's milk and egg was more common among younger children, while allergy to peanut, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish was more common among the older ones. There were insufficient data to compare the estimates of soy and wheat allergy between the age groups. Allergy to most foods, except soy and peanut, appeared to be more common in Northern Europe. In summary, the lifetime self-reported prevalence of allergy to common foods in Europe ranged from 0.1 to 6.0%. The heterogeneity between studies was high, and participation rates varied across studies reaching as low as

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)992-1007
Number of pages16
JournalAllergy
Volume69
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2014

Keywords

  • Europe
  • food allergy
  • prevalence
  • systematic review
  • 1ST 3 YEARS
  • RESPIRATORY HEALTH SURVEY
  • PEANUT ALLERGY
  • IGE-ANTIBODIES
  • BIRTH COHORT
  • ATOPIC SENSITIZATION
  • RISK-FACTOR
  • UNSELECTED POPULATION
  • 4-YEAR-OLD CHILDREN
  • ADVERSE-REACTIONS

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