Childhood obesity and food allergies are both widespread. Is there a correlation? Results from two separate studies show a probable cause and effect relationship between childhood obesity and food allergies in kids.
Damaging Microbes that Lead to Food Allergies may Prove to be Underlying Cause of Childhood Obesity, Study Says
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of 2005-2006 can positively connect food allergies as a possible direct effect of childhood obesity. A third separate study shows that bad microbes in the gut (dysbiosis) can cause obesity. These study findings may prove that a healthy gut flora is key to reducing both food allergies and childhood obesity.
Obese Children are 59% More Likely to have Food Allergies
In a report recently released, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services claims there is a strong link between IgE food allergies and obesity in children. The study included national data from 4,111 children ages 2-19 and found that obese children were 59% more likely to have IgE mediated food allergies than children of normal weight.
“We found a positive association between obesity and allergies,” said Darryl Zeldin, M.D., acting clinical director at NIEHS and senior author on the paper. “While the results from this study are interesting, they do not prove that obesity causes allergies. More research is needed to further investigate this potential link,” Zeldin said.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services believes more study needs to be done to determine whether or not obesity causes food allergies to develop or whether food allergies lead to obesity.
The Underlying Cause of Childhood Obesity may be Microscopic
Food allergies may be side effects of childhood obesity, but what is causing the immunological response? Dr. Yolanda Sanz believes she knows. Sanz is a scientist of the National Spanish Rearch Council (CSIC) at the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (IATA) and Associated Professor of Human Dietetics and Nutrition at the University of Valencia. Her hunch is that gut microbes are to blame.
According to Dr. Yolanda Sanz, et al: “different microbes may influence body weight differently….” Sanz and her colleagues also found that, “Endotoxaemia and dysbiosis have been identified as inflammatory factors responsible for insulin resistance and body weight, thereby returning to the concept that a healthy microbiota may be beneficial in preventing these disorders. “
Dr. Peter Osborne has also shed light on micro-organisms and gut flora as causes of food allergies in children and adults. Many alternative medicine specialists have been treating patients with symptoms of food intolerance, allergies, and IBS with probiotics for years to combat the symptoms of leaky gut syndrome (see diagram below). Today the theory is gaining ground in conventional medicine as well.
As childhood obesity rates increase, NIEHS claims that they are dedicated to continue their work on factors affecting this epidemic. Both studies provides scientists with the motivation to study the nuances of the relationship between food and weight.
“Given that the prevalence of both obesity and allergic disease has increased among children over the last several decades, it is important to understand and, if possible, prevent these epidemics,” said Cynthia M. Visness, PhD., a scientist at Rho Federal Systems Division, Inc. in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Yolanda Sanz, Arlette Santacruz, and Giada De Palma, “Insights into the Roles of Gut Microbes in Obesity,” Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Infectious Diseases, vol. 2008, Article ID 829101, 9 pages, 2008. doi:10.1155/2008/829101
Cynthia M. Visness, Ph.D. “Association of obesity with IgE levels and allergy symptoms in children and adolescents: Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2006” The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology Volume 123, Issue 5 , Pages 1163-1169.e4, May 2009