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Inicio Allergologia et Immunopathologia Prevalence of food allergy in infants and pre-schoolers in Brazil
Journal Information
Vol. 44. Issue 6.
Pages 497-503 (November - December 2016)
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Vol. 44. Issue 6.
Pages 497-503 (November - December 2016)
Original Article
DOI: 10.1016/j.aller.2016.04.009
Prevalence of food allergy in infants and pre-schoolers in Brazil
L.C.P. Gonçalves
Corresponding author

Corresponding author.
, T.C.P. Guimarães, R.M. Silva, M.F.A. Cheik, A.C. de Ramos Nápolis, G. Barbosa e Silva, G.R.S. Segundo
Food Allergy Research Group, Pediatric Departments, Universidade Federal de Uberlandia, Brazil
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Figures (1)
Tables (3)
Table 1. Prevalence of food allergy reported by parents and confirmed by the physician in children aged 4–59 months enrolled in School District for Early Childhood Education.
Table 2. Distribution of patients with food allergy diagnosed by the physician in infants and pre-schoolers enrolled in School District for Early Childhood Education.
Table 3. Distribution of the most prevalent clinical manifestations in food allergy reported by parents and confirmed by the physician in infants and pre-schoolers.
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Food allergy is an increasing problem in public health, especially in childhood. Its incidence has increased in the last decade. Despite this, estimates of the actual incidence and prevalence are uncertain. The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of food allergy in infants and pre-schoolers.


The parents of 3897 children completed questionnaires on the occurrence of any reaction to food. Children with parentally reported reactions were selected for further examination including a clinical interview, physical examination, allergic tests, and if necessary, oral food challenge to conclude the diagnosis of FA.


The estimated prevalence of allergy in children aged 4–59 months was 0.61%, being, 1.9% in infants and 0.4% in pre-schoolers. Among the 604 patients physicians evaluated with parent-reported FA, 24 (4%) had a confirmed diagnosis of food allergy, and 580 (96%) were excluded in the remaining. Of these, approximately half (51/52.6%) of 97 infants and (128/48%) of 487 pre-schoolers already performed the diet exclusion suspected food for a period of time.


This study shows that high overall prevalence of parental belief of current food allergy however the same was not observed in the in physician-diagnosed food allergy. The prevalence of food allergy was lower than that observed in the literature. This study alerts health professionals to the risk entailed by overestimation of cases of food allergy and unnecessary dietary exclusion, which may result in impairment in growth and development of children, especially in their first years of life.

Food allergy


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