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Keywords:

  • adolescents;
  • epidemiology;
  • food allergy;
  • IgE-mediated food allergy

Background

Although food allergy is an important health problem in Western countries, the prevalence varies among geographic regions. There is limited data on the prevalence of food allergy especially for adolescent age group, and the data from Turkey and Mediterranean region are even scarce.

Methods

The study is a cross-sectional survey including a questionnaire followed by phone survey with families that have reported food allergy and clinical evaluation of children having a history compatible with food allergy after phone survey. The sample number of students has been calculated 9096 of a total of 210.000 students at the second stage (6th, 7th, and 8th grades) of state elementary schools in the metropolitan counties of Ankara province with the assumption of food allergy prevalence (P) = 1% and a δ value = 0.2 (α < 0.05, β = 0.8).

Results

Of 11,233 questionnaires distributed at 34 schools, 10,096 (89.4%) have been returned. The number of reported food allergy was 1139 (11.2%), and it was reduced to 133 (1.3%) after phone survey. After clinical evaluation by skin test, specific IgE and double-blind placebo-controlled food challenge (DBPCFC), proven IgE-mediated food allergy was determined in 15 (0.15%) children. The foods most commonly resulting food allergy were peanut 0.05% and treenuts 0.05%.

Conclusion

The prevalence of food allergy among adolescent age group has been confirmed to be comparatively low in Turkey. Peanuts and treenuts were determined to be the most common causes of IgE-mediated food allergy.