There are not available data concerning the occurrence, the clinicalfeatures and the environmental risk factors for food intolerances andallergies in immigrant children. The aim of the study was to evaluaterates, distribution, clinical features and environmental risk factors forfood intolerances and allergies in immigrant children. Hospital recordsof 4130 patients with celiac disease (CD), cow milk protein intolerance(CMPI) and food allergies (FA) diagnosed in 24 Italian Centres from1999 to 2001 were retrospectively reviewed, comparing immigrant patientswith Italian ones. 78/4130 (1.9%) patients were immigrant: 36/1917 (1.9%) had CD, 24/1370 (1.75%) CMPI and 18/843 (2.1%) FA.They were evenly distributed across Italy and their native areas were:East Europe (23/78), Northern Africa (23/78), Southern Asia (14/78),Saharan and Sub-Saharan Africa (9/78), Southern America (4/78), FarEast (3/7), Middle East (2/78). Despite differences in their origin, theclinical features of immigrant children were similar to the ones of Italianpatients and among each ethnic group. The majority of them were bornin Italy (57/78) or have been residing in Italy since several years (19/78).All of them had lost dietary habits of the native countries and hadacquired those of the Italian childhood population. Food intolerancesand allergies are present also in children coming from developingcountries, and paediatricians will need to have a full awareness of thembecause the number of immigrant children in Italy is quickly increasing.The clinical features of food intolerances and allergies appear the samein each ethnic group, despite differences in races. Sharing of dietaryhabits with the Italian childhood population seems to be an importantenvironmental risk factor.
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Immunology and Allergy