UBC study shows nonfood allergy rates among immigrants increase over time

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      A study published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health has found that new immigrants have a far lower prevalence of nonfood allergies than Canadian-born residents.

      According to UBC researchers Jiayun Yao and Hind Sbihi, only 14.3 percent of those here fewer than 10 years reported having allergies in the Canadian Community Health Survey.

      The rate rose to 23.9 percent for immigrants who've been in Canada for more than 10 years.

      Among Canadian-born residents, the rate is 29.6 percent.

      "We knew from previous research that the risk of developing allergies increases in those emigrating from low-income countries to Western countries," Sbihi said in an interview on the UBC website. "With Canada having some of the highest allergy rates in the world, we wanted to know if that was also true here."

      Yao said on the UBC website that allergic rhinitis, otherwise known as hay fever, is an example of a nonfood allergy. About one in five Canadians suffers from this.

      She also noted that the rise in nonfood allergies among immigrant populations suggests that environmental triggers are a contributing factor.

      "These factors could be things like air pollution, levels of sanitization and dietary choices," Yao said, "but we would need to do more research to pinpoint what those factors are."