Does Higher Economic Status Create Peanut Allergies?

Everyone is created different. As a result some people’s systems can handle certain things while others can not. A major health and social issue is food allergies. People often forget the presence that food allergies play in life until they are having dinner parties, birthday parties, packing their child’s lunchbox for school and have to modify the menu accordingly. The severity of the food allergy varies by person- sometimes just being around a food that contains the product can make people burst out into hives. Even though lifestyles have adapted over the years, I still can’t help but wonder why do allergies exist? Is there a possibility that the amount and severity of food allergies can be reduced? Why do some people develop allergies over night?

A case study conducted by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) on November 9, 2012 introduced a new idea: greater rates of peanut allergy are found in families with higher economic status. This theory developed along the same lines as many hygiene theories; although having a good hygiene sounds effective it sometimes has the adverse effects on our immune systems. Over sanitization might suppress the natural development of the immune system.

The study examined 8,306 patients, 776 of which had an elevated antibody level to peanuts. While there is large number of participants, since the study is dealing with humans and a lifelong health impediment, scientists can’t give anyone peanut allergies; it is unethical. All they can do is observe large amounts of people and find a correlation. The researchers from ACAAI discovered several different variables while studying the results which leads me to believe this is a clear case of the Texas Sharp Shooter problem. While they can conclude that high economic status elevates the chances of peanut allergies, they also gathered that a peanut allergy was generally higher in males and racial minorities across all age groups and peanut specific antibody levels peaked in an age group of 10- to 19-year-old children.


With the evidence that ACAAI has presented I don’t find reason to believe that a higher economic status can lead people to develop peanut allergies. Keeping that in mind, I do sympathize for people who have to drastically change their life based on certain types of food. I hope that scientists in the near future can discover what influences the development and how to put an end to it.

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