Researchers have found that foreign born children who reside in the U.S. have a lower risk of allergic diseases, however, their risk increases in time the longer they live in the country, according to a study published Online First in the journal JAMA.

The study, which was led by Jonathan I. Silverberg, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., of St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York, and colleagues, involved analyzing data gathered from a questionnaire in the 2007-2008 National Survey of Children’s Health, which included a total of 91,642 children 0 to 17 years old.

They were able to calculate the number of children who suffered from some form of allergic disease such as asthma according to their origin of birth.

Allergies are particularly common in the U.S., research published in the journal Pediatrics revealed that food allergies affect 8 percent of children under 18 years of age, or about 5.9 million kids in the US.

The results of the study revealed that kids who were born outside the U.S. were at a lower risk of atopic disorders (such as ever-asthma, current-asthma, eczema, hay fever, and food allergies) compared to U.S. born children.

Children whose parents were foreign born were also at a lower risk of atopic disorders compared to U.S. born parents.

Interestingly, foreign born children who had been living in the U.S. for less than two years were at a significantly lower risk of developing allergic disorders compared to those who had been living in the country for at least a decade.

This suggests that there are factors associated with living in the United States that can increase the risk of developing allergies. In fact, previous research published in the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine found that children with allergic sensitizations in economically developed countries are much more likely to develop asthma than similarly sensitized children in poorer countries.

Allergic diseases are becoming more and more common in the richer countries.

The authors of the study concluded:

“In conclusion, foreign-born Americans have significantly lower risk of allergic disease than US-born Americans. However, foreign-born Americans develop increased risk for allergic disease with prolonged residence in the United States.”

Written by Joseph Nordqvist