Peanut Allergies Found to be More Common in Children from Wealthy Families

According to a new study, children from wealthy families may be more likely to have peanut allergies than those who are less well-off.

Researchers analyzed information from 8,306 children and adults whose blood samples were taken as a part of a national health survey in 2005 and 2006. 9 percent of participants were found to have elevated levels of antibodies to peanuts, indicating that they had the potential to be allergic to peanuts.

Children ages 1 to 9 from high income families had higher rates of peanut allergies compared to children these ages from lower income families.

Study researcher Dr. Sandy Yip of the U.S. Air Force says that the results support the "hygiene hypothesis", which is the idea that living in a cleaner environment may make people's immune systems more sensitive an increase the prevalence of allergies.

The study was presented this week at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology meeting in Anaheim, California.