Journal List > J Nutr Health > v.52(6) > 1142011

J Nutr Health. 2019 Dec;52(6):559-568. Korean.
Published online Dec 26, 2019.
© 2019 The Korean Nutrition Society
Risk factors for food allergy among children in Seoul: focusing on dietary habits and environmental factors
Mijung Jang and KyooSang Kim
Department of Environmental Health Research, Seoul Medical Center, Seoul 02053, Korea.

To whom correspondence should be addressed. tel: +82-2-2276-7755, Email:
Received Sep 10, 2019; Revised Nov 06, 2019; Accepted Nov 19, 2019.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



This study examined the prevalence of food allergies and allergenic factors in a selected sample of children living in Seoul, Korea, along with their dietary habits, environmental factors, and diseases as risk factors for food allergy. The results of this study will provide basic data for addressing food allergies.


We selected 3,004 pre-school and school-age children, aged 0 ~ 12, in the 25 districts of Seoul as the study sample. Structured self-report questionnaires were administered over a two-month period in July-August 2018, and the children's parents recorded the answers on their children's behalf. The research tools in this study included the Korean version of the questionnaire from the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC).


The physician-diagnosed prevalence rate of food allergies was 14.2%, while 20.4% of the children experienced allergic symptoms at least once and 17.4% reported symptoms within the previous 12 months. The children's symptoms included skin problems (88.1%), gastrointestinal issues (19.2%), oral issues (16.7%), respiratory issues (12.7%), and systemic issues (1.3%). The causes of allergies included eggs, peaches, milk, peanuts, and shrimps. The factors influencing the experience of food allergies were the consumption of cereal (aOR, 1.52; 95% CI, 1.09 ~ 2.10; p = 0.013), potatoes (aOR, 1.88; 95% CI, 1.33 ~ 2.65; p < 0.001), and fast food (aOR, 1.73; 95% CI, 1.10 ~ 2.72; p = 0.017). Having food allergy symptoms was associated with a higher risk of experiencing asthma (aOR, 4.22 95% CI, 3.10 ~ 5.76; p < 0.001), allergic rhinitis (aOR, 2.53; 95% CI, 2.03 ~ 3.15; p < 0.001), and atopic dermatitis symptoms (aOR, 3.56; 95% CI, 2.88 ~ 4.40; p < 0.001).


Episodes of food allergies warrant examining regular food consumption and placing dietary restrictions through early diagnosis as these episodes may imply the presence of other allergies. Our findings offer basic insights into the patterns, prevalence and symptoms of children's food allergies in Seoul, and our findings will contribute to identifying effective interventions for food allergies.

Keywords: food allergy; ISAAC; children; risk factors; dietary habits


Table 1
General characteristics of the study subjects
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Table 2
Characteristics of children with food allergy symptoms (n = 612)
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Table 3
Adjusted analysis of association between dietary habits and food allergy symptoms
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Table 4
Risk factors for food allergy symptoms among children in Seoul
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This study was supported by grants from the Seoul Metropolitan Government and Seoul Medical Center, Korea (grant number 18-A01).

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