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Wednesday, 25 September 2013
The overall cost of childhood food allergies in the US alone was estimated at almost $25 billion annually in a study of caregivers that quantified medical, lost work productivity, out-of-pocket, and other expenses according to a report published in JAMA.
Food allergy affects about eight percent of children in the United States. Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH, of the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, and colleagues observed 1,643 caregivers of a child with a food allergy. Their results showed that overall food allergy costs were $24.8 billion or about $4,000 per child.
Caregivers estimated that hospitalization accounted for the largest proportion of medical costs ($1.9 billion), followed by outpatient visits ($819 million), emergency department visits ($764 million), and paediatrician visits ($543 million). Special diets and allergen-free foods were estimated to cost $1.7 billion annually.
“In summary, childhood food allergy in the United States places a considerable economic burden on families and society. … Given these findings, research to develop an effective food allergy treatment and cure is critically needed,” the study concludes.
SOURCE: JAMA Pediatrics, September 2013