African American Children Are More Likely to Be Allergic to Shellfish and Finfish: Findings from FORWARD, a Multisite Cohort Study

Mahboobeh Mahdavinia*, Mary C. Tobin, Jamie L. Fierstein, Aame B. Andy-Nweye, Lucy A. Bilaver, Susan Fox, Andrea A. Pappalardo, Jialing Jiang, Perry A. Catlin, Annika Chura, Adam Robinson, Iman Abdikarim, Amaziah Coleman, Christopher M. Warren, Pamela J. Newmark, Alexandria Bozen, Olivia R. Negris, Jacqueline A. Pongracic, Hemant P. Sharma, Amal H. Assa'adRuchi S. Gupta

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Background: Despite major differences in health profiles and rates of health care utilization between African American and White children with food allergy (FA), the detailed phenotypic variables that can potentially impact these outcomes have not been thoroughly studied. Objective: We aimed to characterize phenotypic differences such as allergies to different foods and allergic comorbidities between African American and White children with FA enrolled in the Food Allergy Outcomes Related to White and African American Racial Differences study. Methods: Our active, prospective, multicenter cohort study is currently enrolling African American and White children aged 0 to 12 years diagnosed with FA and followed by allergy/immunology clinics at 4 urban tertiary centers in the United States. To evaluate associations between race and phenotypic variables, we used multivariable logistic regression, adjusting for important demographic and confounding factors, as well as potential household clustering. Results: As of May 2020, there were 239 African Americans and 425 Whites with complete intake information enrolled in the study. In comparison with Whites, we found that African Americans had significantly higher adjusted odds of allergy to finfish (odds ratio [OR]: 2.54, P < .01) and shellfish (OR: 3.10, P < .001). African Americans also had higher adjusted odds of asthma than Whites (asthma prevalence of 60.5% in African Americans and 27.2% in Whites; OR: 2.70, P < .001). In addition, shellfish allergy was associated with asthma, after controlling for race. Conclusion: Among a diverse cohort of children with physician-diagnosed FA, we observed that African American children had higher odds of allergy to shellfish and finfish, and higher rates of asthma. Interestingly, having asthma was independently associated with allergy to shellfish, after controlling for race.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2867-2873.e1
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • African American
  • Asthma
  • Food allergy
  • Race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy


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