Two New Studies, One Says Your Children’s Food Allergies are Your Fault

As a sports fan and a fan of Malcolm Gladwell, I’m well aware of the birth month effect evident in professional and world class athletes.  In short, when children are very young and first begin to play in organized sports, grouping the children by age can influence their progress in the sport.  If the cutoff date is December 31, those born in January – March will tend to be larger, stronger, faster, and better coordinated than those born later in the same year merely due to their being slightly older, but this will be mistaken for them having greater talent.  As a result, children with a Jan-March birthday will tend to be regarded as more talented, receive more playing time, and picked for more traveling all-star teams than their younger peers, and the cumulative effect is evident by adulthood.  Gladwell has written about the distribution of professional hockey and soccer players’ birthdates being disproportionately concentrated in January-March in his book Outliers, which is a fascinating read if you haven’t had a chance.

What the heck does this have to do with food allergies?
Evidently there is a birth month effect for food allergies as well.  A Finnish study published in June and now available online at the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health shows a birth month phenomenon pertaining to food allergies.  Finnish children born in October-November exhibit higher prevalence of food allergies than those born at other times in the year.  The researchers suggest a link between the pollen concentration at the time of conception and the likelihood of food allergies.

That’s right, the time of conception is to blame.  Parents, our children’s food allergies ARE OUR FAULT!

Although the study is gated, the JECH is offering a free one month trial subscription, so you may read it yourself:  Season of the first trimester of pregnancy predicts sensitisation to food allergens in childhood: a population-based cohort study from Finland

Just think, if only you had timed it right, instead of buying Twinject refills you could be sending your child to the Olympic Training Center.  Woulda, coulda, shoulda.

Second study: Link between asthma and food allergies (not our fault)
The second study, which might not surprise many, documents a link between asthma and food allergies.  Published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, it is only available by paid subscription.  I don’t know of a free trial, so here’s a link to the abstract:  National prevalence and risk factors for food allergy and relationship to asthma: Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2006

Trick-or-Treating With Food Allergies: Make Safety Fun available as free pdf
We have edited our recent series on Halloween safety and are making it available as a pdf. Just e-mail us with your first name to request a copy.


About Tom

Tom Anichini owns Egg-Free Epicurean along with his wife, Amy Jones Anichini, who founded the business in 2009. Tom is an actuary and an investment professional. He holds an MBA in Finance from the Chicago Booth School of Business and a BS in Actuarial Science from the University of Illinois. He is also a CFA charter holder and an Associate of the Society of Actuaries. He lives in San Diego with his wife and two daughters.
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