Differences in Self-Reported Food Allergy and Food-Associated Anaphylaxis by Race and Ethnicity Among SAPPHIRE Cohort Participants

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J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract


BACKGROUND: Although food allergies are considered common, relatively little is known about disparities in food allergy by race in the United States.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate differences in reported food allergy and food-associated anaphylaxis among individuals enrolled in a longitudinal cohort study from metropolitan Detroit, Michigan.

METHODS: Participants in the Study of Asthma Phenotypes and Pharmacogenomic Interactions by Race-Ethnicity (SAPPHIRE) were asked about food allergies, including the inciting food and associated symptoms. Individuals were considered to have food-associated anaphylaxis if symptoms coincided with established clinical criteria. Logistic regression was used to assess whether race difference persisted after adjusting for and stratifying by potential confounders. African genetic ancestry was individually estimated among African American SAPPHIRE participants to assess whether ancestry was associated with food allergy.

RESULTS: Within the SAPPHIRE cohort, African American participants were significantly more likely to report food allergy (26.1% vs. 17%; P=3.47x10(-18)) and have food-associated anaphylactic symptoms (12.7% vs. 7%; P=4.65x10(-14)) when compared with European American participants. Allergy to seafood accounted for the largest difference (13.1% vs. 4.6%; P=1.38x10(-31)). Differences in food allergy by race persisted after adjusting for potential confounders including asthma status. Among African American participants, proportion of African ancestry was not associated with any outcome evaluated.

CONCLUSION: Compared with European Americans, African Americans appear to be at higher risk for developing food allergy and food-associated anaphylaxis, particularly with regard to seafood allergy. The lack of association with genetic ancestry suggests that socioenvironmental determinants may play a role in these disparities.

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ePub ahead of print