The Prevalence of Food Allergy in Young Israeli Adults

Liat Nachshon*, Naama Schwartz, Arnon Elizur, Yossi Schon, Michael Cheryomukhin, Yitzhak Katz, Michael R. Goldberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background: Information regarding the prevalence of food allergy (FA) among adults is limited due to their inaccessibility for thorough epidemiological evaluations. Objective: To evaluate the prevalence of FA among Israeli young adults. Methods: All recruits (n = 12,592, ages 17-18 years) signing up over 6 months at a single recruitment center of the Israeli army were evaluated for FA. The evaluation included a frontal interview by physicians who used a focused screening set of questions, medical documentation collection, tests of IgE reactivity, and oral food challenges. The latter were performed at an allergy care institute in ambiguous cases. A prediction model for the identification of individuals with true allergy among recruits eliminating foods due to suspected FA was developed using multivariable logistic regression. Results: Foods elimination due to suspected FA was reported by 148 recruits (1.2%). After diagnostic testing, FA was confirmed in 0.67% (84 of 12,592). The prevalence of food elimination versus diagnosed allergy was 0.2%/0.16% milk, 0.2%/0.14% peanuts, 0.13%/0.09% fish, 0.1%/0.09% sesame, 0.04%/0.015% egg, and 0.36%/0.28% tree nuts, respectively. On multivariable logistic regression analysis, male gender (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 3.2, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.4-7.7), report of a common food allergen (OR = 3.6, 95% CI: 1.4-9.3), previous allergist evaluation for FA (OR = 7.8, 95% CI: 3-20.2), and FA reactions within the past 2 years (OR = 2.8, 95% CI: 1.2-6.7) were significantly identified as independent predictors of true FA. Conclusions: The prevalence of FA among Israeli young adults is lower than reported for other western countries. Reliance on food elimination alone does not accurately rule in FA. The use of the identified predictors for FA can facilitate large-scale epidemiological studies in adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2782-2789.e4
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2019


FundersFunder number
Directorate of Defense
IMOD DDR&D4440716034
Israel Defense Forces
Leon Alcalay Chair
Medical Corps , Israel Defense Army
Tel Aviv University
Ministry of Health, State of Israel
Ministry of Defense


    • Adults
    • Food allergy
    • Prevalence
    • Recruits for army service


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