Are food allergies more common now? 6 Minute English
22
August

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /


Neil: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I’m Neil. Rob: And, hello, I’m Rob. Neil: In 6 Minute English we often talk about food, don’t we, Rob? Rob: Oh yes! And I love food. It’s a very important topic. Neil: We know that too much of the wrong kind of food can be bad for our health. But there is another way that food can be harmful for some people. Rob: Yes, you’re right. Some people have food allergies. They can become very ill if they eat certain foods such as peanuts, shellfish, milk and so on. So, Neil, do you have any food allergies? Neil: Fortunately I don’t, but my daughter is allergic to tree nuts, and so she gets very ill if she eats those. Rob: Oh dear! Well, it seems as if there are more food allergies these days, or more people have them. Or maybe it’s just in the news more. Neil: Well, that’s a very interesting point because that is the topic of this programme. Before we find out more though, here is our question. One of the most common food allergies is to peanuts. Now, what kind of food is a peanut? Is it: A) a vegetable B) a nut or C) a legume Rob: Oh, come on! A peanut is a nut! There’s a clue in the name there, Neil! But that would be too easy, wouldn’t it? So I’m going to say that I’ve got no idea what a legume is, so that’s my answer. C. Neil: I’ll have the answer at the end of the programme. To help answer the question as to whether food allergies are more common now, here’s Dr Adam Fox, who was speaking on The Food Programme on BBC Radio 4. Does he think there has been an increase? Dr Adam Fox: I think we can be very confident if you look back over, say, 30 or 40 years that there are much more allergic problems around now than there were. So, for example, very robust studies that look at prevalence of things like eczema, food allergy do show really significant increases over 20, 30 years, for example. Neil: Has there been an increase? Rob: Well, yes. He says there have been significant increases. This means there has been a ‘clear and obvious rise’. Neil: Why does he think that? Rob: He said that there have been robust studies. A ‘study’ is a piece of research and if you say a study is ‘robust’, it means that it was ‘very detailed and conducted thoroughly to a high standard’. Neil: He said that these studies looked at the prevalence of a few things. ‘Prevalence’ is a noun that refers to how common something is, how often it happens. Rob: One of the things they looked at as well as food allergies was eczema. This is a skin condition that usually happens in childhood.The skin can get, red, itchy and painful over different parts of the body. Neil: Here’s Dr Fox again. Dr Adam Fox: I think we can be very confident, if you look back over, say, 30 or 40 years that there are much more allergic problems around now than there were. So, for example, very robust studies that look at prevalence of things like eczema, food allergy do show really significant increases over 20, 30 years, for example. Neil: So what is the reason for the increase in food allergies? Is it genetics? Dr Fox again. Dr Adam Fox: We certainly can’t put it down to genetics. And we now understand that there is a key role for eczema. So, there’s a pretty direct relationship between whether you’ve got eczema during infancy and your likelihood of getting a food allergy. Neil: Is it genetics? Rob: No, he says ‘you can’t put it down to genetics’ which means ‘you can’t explain it’ by genetics. Neil: In fact, according to the research, if you have eczema as a child, you are more likely to develop food allergies. Here’s Dr Fox one more time. Dr Adam Fox: We certainly can’t put it down to genetics. And we now understand that there is a key role for eczema. So, there’s a pretty direct relationship between whether you’ve got eczema during infancy and your likelihood of getting a food allergy. Neil: OK! Now, time to review our vocabulary, but first, let’s have the answer to the quiz question. I asked: what kind of food is a peanut? Is it: A) a vegetable B) a nut C) a legume What did you say, Rob? Rob: I said C) a legume, because that was only one I didn’t know and it can’t be as simple as being a nut! Neil: An inspired guess! If you said C) legume, then congratulations. Despite the name, a peanut is not actually a nut. Rather conveniently though, we don’t have time for me to explain exactly why it’s not a nut, but I’m sure you’re smart enough to look it up yourself. Rob: So, you’re not going to explain it? Neil: No, sorry, we don’t have the time. Rob: Sounds to me like you’re allergic to hard work, Neil! Neil: Nice link to today’s vocabulary. We do have time for that. Today we’ve been looking at the topic of ‘food allergies’. This is when a particular food causes a medical problem. Rob: The problem could be minor or it could be very serious, even fatal and these are called ‘allergic reactions’. Neil: The topic has been investigated with ‘robust studies’. This is research that has been done in a very detailed, accurate and thorough way. Rob: The next word was the noun ‘prevalence’. This is used to talk about how common or how frequent something is. In this research, they examined the prevalence of food allergies in certain age groups. Neil: Closely connected to food allergies is ‘eczema’. This is a medical condition that makes your skin dry, painful and itchy over different parts of the body. Rob: It was reported that there had a been a significant increase in the number of people suffering from eczema and food allergies. A ‘significant increase’ is a big and important increase. Neil: And finally we had the phrase ‘to put something down to something’. This means ‘to say one thing is the reason for another’. In this case, you couldn’t put the increase in food allergies down to genetics. Rob: You know what I put the success of 6 Minute English down to? Neil: No, what’s that, Rob? Rob: Your great knowledge of different subjects and skill as a presenter and communicator. Neil: Well, that’s very kind of you… but I still don’t have time to explain what a legume is! In fact now it’s time to wrap up this edition of 6 Minute English. We look forward to your company again soon. In the meantime, check us out in all the usual places, online and on social media. We are BBC Learning English. Bye for now! Rob: Goodbye!


32 thoughts on “Are food allergies more common now? 6 Minute English

  1. Legume is a word used to describe any plant that has its seed in a pod. So pea, soybeans, chickpea, tamarind, lentil and beans are legumes.

  2. Allergic reaction may happen due to a lot of foods , medicens( like penicillin, sulfate,..) and insects bite , so Allergic reactions are related to specific proteins which are responsible for allergy .
    And I think Eczema itself is genetic disease.

  3. I can say that lots of food are treated by using chemicals. For example when we talk about vegetables, chemicals are useful to grow them quickly and on the better way. Consequently, over time, tiny quantities of these substances might end up into our body, developing an allergy reaction. That’s my opinion.
    Thanks for your video.

  4. Introduction

    Research has suggested that food allergies may be more common these days than they were in the last 20 or 30 years. Why might this be? Is it linked to our diet? And are there any signs that a child might go on to develop a food allergy as an adult? Neil and Rob discuss if food allergies are becoming more common, and teach you new vocabulary.

    This week's question

    One of the most common food allergies is to peanuts. What kind of food is a peanut? Is it:

    A) a vegetable

    B) a nut or

    C) a legume

    Listen to the programme to find out the answer.

    Vocabulary

    food allergies
    medical problems that are caused by eating certain foods

    robust studies
    detailed, thorough and accurate research

    prevalence
    a noun referring to how often or how frequent something is

    eczema
    a medical condition of the skin

    a significant increase
    a large, noticeable rise in the number of something

    to put something down to something
    to say that one thing is the reason for another

    Transcript

    Note: This is not a word for word transcript

    Neil

    Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Neil.

    Rob
    And, hello, I'm Rob.

    Neil
    In 6 Minute English we often talk about food, don’t we, Rob?

    Rob
    Oh yes! And I love food. It’s a very important topic.

    Neil
    We know that too much of the wrong kind of food can be bad for our health. But there is another way that food can be harmful for some people.

    Rob
    Yes, you’re right. Some people have food allergies. They can become very ill if they eat certain foods such as peanuts, shellfish, milk and so on. So, Neil, do you have any food allergies?

    Neil
    Fortunately I don't, but my daughter is allergic to tree nuts, and so she gets very ill if she eats those.

    Rob
    Oh dear! Well, it seems as if there are more food allergies these days, or more people have them. Or maybe it’s just in the news more.

    Neil
    Well, that’s a very interesting point because that is the topic of this programme. Before we find out more though, here is our question. One of the most common food allergies is to peanuts. Now, what kind of food is a peanut? Is it:

    A) a vegetable

    B) a nut or

    C) a legume

    Rob
    Oh, come on! A peanut is a nut! There’s a clue in the name there, Neil! But that would be too easy, wouldn't it? So I’m going to say that I’ve got no idea what a legume is, so that’s my answer. C.

    Neil
    I’ll have the answer at the end of the programme. To help answer the question as to whether food allergies are more common now, here’s Dr Adam Fox, who was speaking on The Food Programme on BBC Radio 4. Does he think there has been an increase?

    Dr Adam Fox
    I think we can be very confident if you look back over, say, 30 or 40 years that there are much more allergic problems around now than there were. So, for example, very robust studies that look at prevalence of things like eczema, food allergy do show really significant increases over 20, 30 years, for example.

    Neil

    Has there been an increase?

    Rob
    Well, yes. He says there have been significant increases. This means there has been a 'clear and obvious rise'.

    Neil
    Why does he think that?

    Rob
    He said that there have been robust studies. A study is a piece of research and if you say a study is robust, it means that it was 'very detailed and conducted thoroughly to a high standard'.

    Neil
    He said that these studies looked at the prevalence of a few things. Prevalence is a noun that refers to how common something is, how often it happens.

    Rob
    One of the things they looked at as well as food allergies was eczema. This is a skin condition that usually happens in childhood. The skin can get, red, itchy and painful over different parts of the body.

    Neil
    Here’s Dr Fox again.

    Dr Adam Fox
    I think we can be very confident, if you look back over, say, 30 or 40 years that there are much more allergic problems around now than there were. So, for example, very robust studies that look at prevalence of things like eczema, food allergy do show really significant increases over 20, 30 years, for example.

    Neil
    So what is the reason for the increase in food allergies? Is it genetics? Dr Fox again.

    Dr Adam Fox
    We certainly can’t put it down to genetics. And we now understand that there is a key role for eczema. So, there’s a pretty direct relationship between whether you’ve got eczema during infancy and your likelihood of getting a food allergy.

    Neil
    Is it genetics?

    Rob
    No, he says 'you can’t put it down to genetics' which means 'you can’t explain it' by genetics.

    Neil
    In fact, according to the research, if you have eczema as a child, you are more likely to develop food allergies. Here's Dr Fox one more time.

    Dr Adam Fox
    We certainly can’t put it down to genetics. And we now understand that there is a key role for eczema. So, there’s a pretty direct relationship between whether you’ve got eczema during infancy and your likelihood of getting a food allergy.

    Neil

    OK! Now, time to review our vocabulary, but first, let’s have the answer to the quiz question. I asked: what kind of food is a peanut? Is it:

    A) a vegetable

    B) a nut

    C) a legume

    What did you say, Rob?

    Rob
    I said C) a legume, because that was only one I didn’t know and it can’t be as simple as being a nut!

    Neil
    An inspired guess! If you said C) legume, then congratulations. Despite the name, a peanut is not actually a nut. Rather conveniently though, we don’t have time for me to explain exactly why it’s not a nut, but I’m sure you’re smart enough to look it up yourself.

    Rob
    So, you’re not going to explain it?

    Neil
    No, sorry, we don’t have the time.

    Rob
    Sounds to me like you’re allergic to hard work, Neil!

    Neil
    Nice link to today’s vocabulary. We do have time for that. Today we’ve been looking at the topic of food allergies. This is when a particular food causes a medical problem.

    Rob
    The problem could be minor or it could be very serious, even fatal and these are called allergic reactions.

    Neil
    The topic has been investigated with robust studies. This is research that has been done in a very detailed, accurate and thorough way.

    Rob
    The next word was the noun prevalence. This is used to talk about how common or how frequent something is. In this research, they examined the prevalence of food allergies in certain age groups.

    Neil
    Closely connected to food allergies is eczema. This is a medical condition that makes your skin dry, painful and itchy over different parts of the body.

    Rob
    It was reported that there had a been a significant increase in the number of people suffering from eczema and food allergies. A significant increase is a big and important increase.

    Neil
    And finally we had the phrase to put something down to something. This means 'to say one thing is the reason for another'. In this case, you couldn’t put the increase in food allergies down to genetics.

    Rob
    You know what I put the success of 6 Minute English down to?

    Neil
    No, what's that, Rob?

    Rob
    Your great knowledge of different subjects and skill as a presenter and communicator.

    Neil
    Well, that’s very kind of you… but I still don’t have time to explain what a legume is! In fact now it’s time to wrap up this edition of 6 Minute English. We look forward to your company again soon. In the meantime, check us out in all the usual places, online and on social media. We are BBC Learning English. Bye for now!

    Rob
    Goodbye!

  5. I put my improvement in English down BBC learning English and I feel there is a significant change now .
    Thx Neil & Rob

  6. I've been waiting for my allergy test results for more than three weeks. I'm being tested for dust, dust mite, mould allergy. GP put my the fact i have sore throat down to possible allergy.

  7. some food allergies happen because excessive eating of specific kind of food which is not commonly identified as is allergic food.

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