Urban areas often have more allergy than rural areas. Dietary patterns and parasite infection have been suggested as possible related factors. This study evaluated the prevalence of allergy in school children in one rural and suburban area of Vietnam where parasite infection is common. A total of 195 children aged 9 to 13 years old completed a self-administered allergy questionnaire and provided blood and stool samples for analysis. Nutritional status, dietary intake and parasite infection were determined in all participants. Allergy was more common in girls (10.7% vs. 7.6%), suburban children (11.8% vs. 6.9%), children with weight-for-age (16.7% vs. 6.0%) and height-for-age (14.8% vs. 4.9%) in the 10th to 75th percentile compared to <3rd percentile, and in children without trichuriasis compared to light trichuriasis (12.5% vs. 9.3%), although none of these comparisons were statistically significant. Logistic regression adjusted for sex, age and area of residence revealed no association between allergy and nutritional status, food intake or parasite infection. Intake of riboflavin, however, was negatively associated with allergy (OR=0.00, 95% CI:0.00-0.65, p=0.038). In conclusion, we were unable to detect any association between allergy and nutritional status, diet, or parasite infection. However, in a population with high undernutrition and parasite infection, the prevalence of allergy was low and the extremely low intake of riboflavin was associated with a higher risk of allergy.
2004 by The University of Tokushima Faculty of Medicine