Food allergy quality of life worse for United States Children compared to European children

Published Online: December 22, 2016

Poor quality of life reported at a young age may have long term implications for children growing up with food allergy. In a recent study published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, DunnGalvin and colleagues from the Food Allergy Research Group in University College Cork, Ireland, quality of life in children with food allergy was measured across the US for the first time in a single study, and compared to such measures in European countries. The development of norms (or typical scores) for quality of life according to a child’s age or country are important to ensure that quality of life scores are easily interpretable and comparable and that the long term impact of food allergy can be tracked for individuals and populations. The Food Allergy Quality of Life (FAQLQ) questionnaire was completed by the parents of 1029 food allergic children (0-12 years) in 48 out of 50 states across the US. Participants were recruited via support groups and allergists. The scores for 3 age groups (0-2 years; 3-6 years; 7-12 years) were compared to similar age groups in Europe (Ireland, Switzerland, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Israel, and the UK).

Quality of life was found to be worse in US children across all age groups compared to European children. The differences in scores reported by different countries may be attributable to clinical, socio-demographic or societal factors such as level of awareness, type of health service, and the resources available for food allergy. The researchers also found that as children get older, the burden of food allergy on quality of life increases. The findings will form the basis for ongoing work in the development of an online manual to allow for precise measurement, interpretation of scores, and comparison across countries and cultures, in clinical and research settings.

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice is an official journal of the AAAAI, focusing on practical information for the practicing clinician.

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