Australian children with Asian ancestry are more likely develop nut allergy than children with Asian ancestry who moved to Australia, revealed a new study.
Australia has higher rates of food allergies and this could be attributed to the environment, diet and other lifestyle factors. But a new study by the Murdoch Children's Research Institute has reported that children who are born in Asia and then migrated to Australia are able to protect themselves against food allergies.
‘Australian-born children of Asian-descent were more likely to have nut allergy than non-Asian children while children born in Asia who migrated to Australia were at decreased risk.’
Dr.Katie Allen, who led the study, conducted a survey of 57,000 school children through an allergy-related questionnaire completed by the parents. She found that about five percent of parents reported that their child had a food allergy while three percent reported a nut allergy.
"This piece of information shows that if children were born in Asia and then moved to Australia they are protected against food allergy. This is an incredibly exciting finding because it provides really solid evidence about the fact that there's something in the environment that's driving this allergic epidemic."
She said that there was a heightened genetically-determined risk of food allergy in Australia and attributed the risk factors to "Hygiene Hypothesis". This involves the feeding practices followed by parents during the first year of their babies growth and UV exposure.
"Some countries in the northern hemisphere actually supplement infants with vitamin D ... Australia is one of the few countries in the world that neither fortifies its food chain supply by adding vitamin D to milk and dairy products, nor has supplementation of infants in the first year of life," she said.
The study concluded that children born in Asia, but then moved to Australia seem to be completely protected from the nut allergy while Australian children born to Asian mothers had an increased risk of developing a food allergy.