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Keywords:

  • allergic rhinitis;
  • atopic dermatitis;
  • bronchial asthma;
  • food allergy;
  • university students

Abstract

Background:  Allergens that cause food allergy vary considerably according to race, environment, dietary habits and age. However, data on the actual situation of food allergy in young adult students are limited in Japan. The aim of the present study was to investigate the actual situation of food allergy in young adults.

Methods:  Food allergy was examined, along with the presence or absence of allergic rhinitis, atopic dermatitis and bronchial asthma complicating food allergy, in 2053 Japanese university students.

Results:  Food allergy was noted in 5.2% of subjects, with a higher prevalence in female students. In terms of the causative allergen, the rank order of incidence was egg, buckwheat, shrimp, crab, mackerel, milk, yam, beef fat, shellfish and other foods. In comparison with Western countries, the incidence of allergy to buckwheat and seafood tended to be higher. Among students with a food allergy, the proportion of those with allergic rhinitis, atopic dermatitis and bronchial asthma was 45.8, 29.0 and 12.1%, respectively, showing higher prevalences than in students without any food allergy.

Conclusion:  In the future, the number of young adults with food allergy complicated by other allergic diseases will increase and measures against this issue seem to be necessary.