Nut allergy prevalence and differences between Asian-born children and Australian-born children of Asian descent: a state-wide survey of children at primary school entry in Victoria, Australia
Asian infants born in Australia are three times more likely to develop nut allergy than non-Asian infants, and rates of challenge-proven food allergy in infants have been found to be unexpectedly high in metropolitan Melbourne. To further investigate the risk factors for nut allergy, we assessed the whole-of-state prevalence distribution of parent-reported nut allergy in 5-year-old children entering school.
Using the 2010 School Entrant Health Questionnaire administered to all 5-year-old children in Victoria, Australia, we assessed the prevalence of parent-reported nut allergy (tree nut and peanut) and whether this was altered by region of residence, socio-economic status, country of birth or history of migration. Prevalence was calculated as observed proportion with 95% confidence intervals (CI). Risk factors were evaluated using multivariable logistic regression and adjusted for appropriate confounders.
Parent-reported nut allergy prevalence was 3.1% (95% CI 2.9-3.2) amongst a cohort of nearly 60 000 children. It was more common amongst children of mothers with higher education and socio-economic index and less prevalent amongst children in regional Victoria than in Melbourne. While children born in Australia to Asian-born mothers (aOR 2.67, 95% CI 2.28-3.27) were more likely to have nut allergy than non-Asian children, children born in Asia who subsequently migrated to Australia were at decreased risk of nut allergy (aOR 0.1, 95% CI 0.03-0.31).
Migration from Asia after the early infant period appears protective for the development of nut allergy. Additionally, rural regions have lower rates of nut allergy than urban areas.