OBJECTIVE. Our goal was to identify the frequency, demographics, and diagnostic characteristics associated with maternally reported food allergies and other food-related health problems among infants aged ≤1 year.

METHODS. We analyzed data from the 2005–2007 Infant Feeding Practices Study II, a longitudinal survey of 2441 US mothers of healthy singletons from pregnancy through their infant's first year. Doctor diagnosis and symptoms-based criteria were used to identify a probable-food-allergic group from maternal reports of infant health problems with food.

RESULTS. More than one fifth of the 2441 mothers reported that their infant had a food-related problem; 6% (n = 143) had a probable food allergy, and 15% (n = 359) had other food-related problems. Forty percent of the infants with a food-related health problem were evaluated by a doctor. Gastrointestinal symptoms were more commonly reported in early infancy compared with skin-related symptoms, which were reported in later infancy, and 27% received medical treatment for the symptoms. Characteristics associated with increased incidence of probable food allergy included family histories of food allergy and type 1 diabetes, gestational diabetes, living in rural or urban areas, being black, and being male. Among all infants with a food-related health problem, the majority experienced their first problem by 6 months of age. Foods recognized to be major allergens were most commonly reported as the source of an allergy.

CONCLUSIONS. Food-related problems occurred at a high frequency in the first year of life. A better understanding of the demographics, family history, disease manifestations, and diagnoses may provide insight into public health efforts to minimize or prevent food allergies in infancy and to help differentiate food-allergic problems from nonallergic food problems in this age group.

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