HealthDay News — The prevalence of allergies among U.S. children younger than 18 years increased from 1997 to 2011, with age, race/ethnicity and income all affecting prevalence, according to a data brief issued by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

Food allergy prevalence increased from 3.4% to 5.1% and skin allergies increased from 7.4% to 12.5% during this time period, according to Kristen D. Jackson, MPH, and colleagues from the NCHS in Hyattsville, Md.

Respiratory allergy prevalence increased with older age, whereas skin allergies decreased. The prevalence of food, skin, and respiratory allergies was lower among Hispanic children than among other races or ethnicities.

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Compared with white children, non-Hispanic black children were less likely to have respiratory allergies and more likely to have skin allergies.

The prevalence of food and respiratory allergies increased with income level, with children with family income equivalent to 200% or more of the poverty level experiencing the highest prevalence of allergy. There was no difference in the prevalence of skin allergy by poverty status, the researchers found.

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