Food allergies in children in the United States are taking huge toll on the family budget and country’s economy.
According to a new study, children’s allergies to foods like peanuts, dairy and other eatables are costing a whopping $25 billion a year to the US.
A reports says, about 4% to 6% of US children under age 18 have food allergies. Shockingly, the latest statistics show this percentage may be on the rise.
Researchers led by Dr. Ruchi Gupta, a pediatrician at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and a professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, surveyed 1,643 parents across the country who have at least one child with a food allergy to look specifically at the economic impact of care. The participants were asked how much they spent on doctor’s visits, trips to the emergency room and special foods and treatments.
The researchers found that the US health care system and families are hit with a heavy tab when it comes to medical care, purchase of allergy-free foods and other out-of-pocket expenses for these children.
“In summary, childhood food allergy in the United States places a considerable economic burden on families and society,” concluded the study’s authors.
- Food allergy costs about $4,180 per child each year.
- $4.3 billion went to direct medical costs from going to the doctor or emergency room.
- $770 million went to family-related costs like time off work.
- $5.5 billion was spent on other out-of-pocket expenses, 31 percent of which was spent on special foods alone.