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Being Born in the U.S. Increases Children's Risk of Allergies, Asthma

Update Date: Apr 29, 2013 04:00 PM EDT

Children born outside of the U.S. are significantly less likely to have allergic diseases like asthma, eczema, hay fever and food allergies, according to a new study. However, researchers found that the longer children live in the U.S. the greater their chances of developing allergic disease.

The latest study led by Dr. Jonathan I. Silverberg involved data from 91,642 children aged 0 to 17 years enrolled in the 2007-2008 National Survey of Children's Health. Researchers said the main outcomes measured were prevalence of allergic disease including asthma, eczema, hay fever and food allergies.

The findings published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, reveal that children born outside of the U.S. were significantly less likely to have any atopic disorders than those born in the United States, including ever-asthma, current-asthma, eczema, hay fever, and food allergies.

The study also found that children born outside of the U.S. whose parents were also born outside the United States had significantly lower odds of any atopic disorders than children whose parents were born in the United States.

Interestingly, the study revealed that children born outside of the United States who lived in the U.S. for longer than 10 years were significantly more likely to have eczema and hay fever than those who resided in the U.S. for only zero to two years.

"In conclusion, foreign-born Americans have significantly lower risk of allergic disease than US-born Americans. However, foreign-born Americans develop increased risk for allergic disease with prolonged residence in the United States," researchers wrote in the study.

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