Australia is considered the world capital of allergy, with more than five million people living with allergic diseases. In children, our HealthNuts study has shown that up to 10 percent of 12-month-old children in Australia have a clinically confirmed food allergy. When you try to find a solution to the global increase in food allergies, you go to the heart of the problem. The world's most livable city also has the highest reported rate of food allergies in the world.
The gut's immune system recognizes these foods as normal food groups and is less likely to cause an allergic response. Experts from around the world gathered in the city on Monday to attend the International Congress on Immunology, when Australian researchers are leading a global campaign to pass on advice to first-time parents on how best to protect high-risk babies from developing food allergies. Professor Allen's vision is to prevent food allergy in Australian children, and her goal is to translate the findings of her research into clinical practice and public health policies to ensure the best outcomes for children here and around the world. The gut microbiome has been altered by rapid changes in food manufacturing, food production and high-sugar diets over the past 50 years.
Associate Professor Kirsten Perrett is a pediatric allergist at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne and principal investigator at the Food Allergy Research Center of the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, where she leads the VITALITY study, which investigates the administration of vitamin D supplements for the prevention of food allergy in infants. Even after a successful diagnosis of food allergies, it's difficult to avoid trigger foods, and accidental exposures are common.