In 2008, Gideon Lack of King's College London published a startling study comparing the rate of peanut allergies in children in London with that of children in Tel Aviv. The study of 10,000 Jewish children, which appeared in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, found that kids in the U.K. were almost 10 times as likely to have a peanut allergy as their peers in Israel, says Lack.
Why the disparity? Although Lack can't draw conclusive explanations from his observational study, he suggests that one reason may have to do with early exposure. In Israel, children are typically introduced to peanuts much earlier than in Europe and North America. Lack points to a popular Israeli snack food called Bamba (like peanut-flavored Cheez Doodles), which youngsters start eating as early as infancy. That early exposure may desensitize children to peanuts, even in kids with a family history of food allergies... (READ MORE HERE)