Predictors of Food Sensitization in Children and Adults across Europe

Sarah A Lyons, André C Knulst, Peter G J Burney, Montserrat Fernández-Rivas, Barbara K Ballmer-Weber, Laura Barreales, Christian Bieli, Michael Clausen, Ruta Dubakiene, Cristina Fernández-Perez, Monika Jedrzejczak-Czechowicz, Marek L Kowalski, Ischa Kummeling, Tihomir B Mustakov, Harmieke van Os-Medendorp, Nikolaos G Papadopoulos, Todor A Popov, James Potts, Paraskevi Xepapadaki, Paco M J WelsingE N Clare Mills, Ronald van Ree, Thuy-My Le

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: The geographical variation and temporal increase in prevalence of food sensitization (FS), suggest environmental influences.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate how demographics, environment, and infant diet are associated with FS in children and adults, focusing on early-life exposures.

METHODS: Data on demographics, childhood and adult environmental exposures (including, amongst others, sibship size, day care, pets, farm environment, and smoking), and infant diet (including breastfeeding, and timing of introduction to infant formula and solids), were collected from 2196 school-age children and 2185 adults completing an extensive questionnaire and blood sampling in the cross-sectional pan-European EuroPrevall project. Multivariable logistic regression was applied to determine associations between the exposure variables and sensitization to foods commonly implicated in food allergy (sIgE≥0.35 kU/L). Secondary outcomes were inhalant sensitization and primary (non-cross-reactive) FS.

RESULTS: Dog ownership in early childhood was inversely associated with childhood FS (OR 0.65 [95%-CI 0.48-0.90]), as was higher gestational age at delivery (OR 0.93 [95%-CI 0.87-0.99] per week increase in age). Lower age and male sex were associated with higher prevalence of adult FS (OR 0.97 [95%-CI 0.96-0.98] per year increase in age, and 1.39 [95%-CI 1.12-1.71] for male sex). No statistically significant associations were found between other evaluated environmental determinants and childhood or adult FS, nor between infant diet and childhood FS, although early introduction of solids did show a trend towards prevention of FS.

CONCLUSION: Dog ownership seems to protect against childhood FS, but independent effects of other currently conceived environmental and infant dietary determinants on FS in childhood or adulthood, could not be confirmed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe journal of allergy and clinical immunology. In practice
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2020


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