“Food allergies are often seen as a condition that begins in childhood, so the idea that 45 percent of adults with food allergies develop them in adulthood is surprising.” —Ruchi Gupta, MD
Findings presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology’s annual meeting showed that nearly half of adults with food allergies reported one or more came about during their adult years. “Food allergies are often seen as a condition that begins in childhood, so the idea that 45 percent of adults with food allergies develop them in adulthood is surprising,” lead study author Ruchi Gupta, MD, said in a press release. “We also saw that, as with children, the incidence of food allergies in adults is rising across all ethnic groups.”
Maybe less surprisingly, the most common allergy that comes about during adulthood is shellfish, which affects 3.6 percent of the country. Next up is an allergy to tree nuts, which targets an estimated 1.8 percent of the country.
As for the prevalence of allergies in different ethnic groups, the risk was higher for those who aren’t white, with black, Asian, and Hispanic adults reporting new allergies at a rate more than two times high than white adults for popular culprits like peanuts and shellfish, according to co-author food-allergy researcher Christopher Warren.
If you’re having a weird reaction to a food, Warren noted it’s always smart to get tested—even if you think it’s just a slight intolerance. Because, evidently, no matter your age, you’re not safe from the onset of food allergies. Sounds like great Thanksgiving-dinner conversation—as you hesitantly pass around the pie—right?