A new study on hypersensitivity to basic foods in school children found that reported hypersensitivity was eight times more common than allergies confirmed through testing. Because many food allergies found in early childhood can become sensitivities through tolerance by the time the child is in school, many children avoid basic foods unnecessarily.
This is especially common in the first year of life when hypersensitivity can be common for foods like milk, eggs, fish, or wheat. Many children grow out of these sensitivities or have them greatly diminish by the time they’re school aged, says the author of the dissertation study.
Many early childhood sensitivities are never thoroughly tested as allergies later in life.
The study found that reported food hypersensitivity at the ages of 7 and 8 was common and allergies were reported at a rate eight times higher than the confirmed allergies through testing.
When focusing on milk, the study found that in children 11-12 years of age, about 14.5 percent reported that they fully or partially avoid milk due to a hypersensitivity yet only 3 percent of those children had an ongoing milk allergy. Concurrently, those avoiding milk had lower body mass indexes than did those who do not avoid it.
Previous studies have shown that children who are food intolerant or have mild allergies in infancy and early childhood to basic foods like milk often outgrow those, gaining tolerance by the time they’re of school age.