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Figures show Australia is food allergy capital of world

Australia has the highest level of food allergies in the world and Melbourne is the food allergy capital of the world, according to research.

As Yahoo7News reports, two in every 100 Australian adults are affected by food allergies, while the figure rises to one in 10 for infants.

The rates of these allergies in the western world has been rising for the past 20 years and, as Professor Katie Allen from Murdoch Childrens Research Institute told the Age, there are several theories regarding what is causing this change.

Genetics, over-cleanliness, and vitamin D deficiencies have all been identified as possible causes of the rise in allergies. And another possible cause, distance from the equator, explains why Melbourne has the highest food allergy rate in this country.

The International Congress of Immunology, being held in Melbourne this week, is examining the problem.

Australia is seen as a world leader in this field and, in May, the Centre for Food & Allergy Research (CFAR) Australian Infant Feeding Guidelines Summit released new guidelines. These include:

  1. When your infant is ready, at around six months, but not before four months, start to introduce a variety of solid foods, starting with iron rich foods, while continuing breastfeeding.
  2. All infants should be given allergenic solid foods including peanut butter, cooked egg, dairy and wheat products in the first year of life. This includes infants at high risk of allergy.
  3. Hydrolysed (partially or extensively) infant formula are not recommended for prevention of allergic disease.

 

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