A new study published in the journal Pediatrics found that 8 percent of U.S. children age 18 or under are affected by food allergies.

That equates to 5.9 million children, according to a study by Dr. Ruchi Gupta of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

Among children with food allergies 38.7 percent had a history of severe reactions and 30.4 percent had multiple food allergies.

The large, population-based nature of this study shows that pediatric food allergy is a significant and growing problem in our society, Gupta said in a released statement.

Based on our data, about one in every 13 children has a food allergy. What's more, nearly two out of every five affected children suffer from a severe food-allergy. For these children, accidental ingestion of an allergenic food may lead to difficulty breathing, a sharp drop in blood pressure, and even death, he said.

The result of the study is set to be published in Pediatrics July issue.