City kids have more food allergies than rural kids

Allergy shots. Photo: Neeta Lind/Flickr

Children who live in the metro region have a higher risk of food allergies than those who live in rural areas, according to a new study that links zip codes to allergies.

And our region tops the list.

The list of foods D.C.resident Jordan Chiles is allergic to seems endless

"I'm mostly allergic to everything," he says.

Food allergies among children like Jordan have been on the rise in recent years. And there's no clear cut explanation of why.

But now a new study in the Journal of Clinical Pediatrics shows it might have something to do with where someone lives.

According to the study, 10 percent of city kids have severe food allergies compared to six percent of kids who live in rural areas. And the study says that D.C. and Maryland have the highest rate in the country.

So why are city and suburban kids more at risk? One possible explanation could be they're "over-sanitizing," according to allergist Darlene Mansoor.

By keeping things so sanitized and clean, they're not building up the antibodies.

Food could also play a role because kids in the country have more access to home grown foods.

Dale City resident Tiara Johnson says she has started shopping at the farmers market and has seen a noticeable difference in her son's allergies.

“We purchase our fruits and vegetables from there,” she says. “He's had reactions from many foods I buy in a grocery store.”

Researchers say all the pollutants in the city could also be a trigger.

Even though city kids are more likely to suffer from food allergies, the study says the severity of the allergic reactions was the same everywhere.