Aim: To characterize reported food hypersensitivity (FHS) among young children in a birth cohort.
Methods: At 4 years of age a parental questionnaire on FHS and allergic symptoms was evaluated. Blood was collected for analyses of IgE-antibodies to egg, milk, fish, wheat, peanut and soy. Complete questionnaire data was available for 3694 children (90%), and blood samples were obtained from 2563 children (63%).
Results: FHS was reported in 11% of the children (n = 397). Eczema was the most commonly reported symptom and the only symptom in half of these children. Food-related reactions from the airways, facial oedema or urticaria were reported in 198 children, and the majority of these children (75%) reported multiple symptoms. Furthermore, a combination of airway symptoms, facial oedema or urticaria together with sensitization to food suggested a more severe form of FHS. This was found in 1.6% of all children. Symptoms caused by peanut were closely associated with sensitization to peanut (p < 0.001).
Conclusions: FHS in 4-year-old children with any of asthma, rhino-conjunctivitis, facial oedema or urticaria in combination is in most cases associated to sensitization to food. This phenotype of FHS is likely to represent a more severe form of FHS.