BERKELEY, Calif., Sept. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Food allergies are
increasingly top-of-mind for many Americans. In fact, one out of every
three people in this country claim to have a food allergy of one kind or
another.* But the science doesn't support these fears. Government and
medical association estimates put the actual incident rate at only between
one in 25 and one in 70.**
(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20060921/LATH045 )
Parents are one of the groups most concerned about food allergies,
especially as kids go back to school and eat more meals away from home. In
many cases, they're also ill-informed about the differences between
allergies and intolerances, and the proper course of treatment for each. A
new survey conducted among California parents last month reveals that many
are self-diagnosing food allergies and eliminating nutrient-rich foods from
their child's diet without seeing a doctor first.
"Medical self-diagnosis is risky business," says Dr. Stuart Epstein,
Beverly Hills Allergist, Associate Clinical Professor David Geffen UCLA
School of Medicine and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Attending Allergist.
"Without professional advice, suffering is almost always extended and
important foods eliminated unnecessarily."
And milk is often the "fall guy." In fact, nearly two-thirds (63%) of
parents surveyed in this recent Omnibus Poll admitted to eliminating -- or
limiting their children's intake -- of milk at the first sign of problems,
believing dairy products to be at least partially responsible for their
"Parents are sometimes quick to point the finger at cow's milk when
their child comes down with unexplained symptoms like intestinal problems
or allergic reactions," stresses Dr. Epstein. "Eliminating milk from your
diet, especially a child's diet, without talking to your doctor first, is
not a smart idea."
In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement last
week urging parents not to eliminate dairy foods from their children's diet
for lactose intolerance reasons. Dairy foods like milk are an important
source of calcium and other nutrients that facilitate growth during a
critical bone building time.***
Americans often confuse food allergies with food sensitivities or
intolerances. An allergy is a specific condition that involves immune
response, where as an intolerance -- like lactose intolerance -- is very
rare among young people. Medical experts like Dr. Epstein recommend seeking
medical attention at the first sign of a problem.
From August 14th to 22nd Market Tools surveyed 551 California parents
online to gauge food allergy and lactose intolerance awareness and milk
allergies as a health concern for their children.
- Sixty-three percent (63%) of California parents eliminate milk from
their child's diet at the first sign of a food-related health issue.
- Forty percent (40%) of parents do not consult a doctor before
eliminating foods from their child's diet.
About the CMPB
The California Milk Processor Board was established in 1993 to make
milk more competitive and increase milk consumption in California.
Awareness of GOT MILK? is over 90% nationally and it is considered one of
the most important and successful campaigns in history. GOT MILK? is a
federally registered trademark that has been licensed by the national dairy
boards since 1995. GOT MILK? gifts and recipes can be viewed at
http://www.gotmilk.com. The CMPB is funded by all California milk
processors and administered by the California Department of Food and
* National Institute of Health, Food Allergy Citation & Incidence
Rates, pp 1-2, www.nih.org.
** Paajanen L et al. Cow milk not responsible for most gastrointestinal
immune-like syndromes -- evidence from a population-based study.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2005; 82:1327-1235.
*** Heyman, Melvin B., M.D., M.P.H., FAAP, Lactose Intolerance in
Infants, Children and Adolescents (Pediatrics, 2006;118:1279-1286).
SOURCE The California Milk Processor Board