Food Allergy and Health-Related Quality of Life in a Racially Diverse Sample
Monday, March 7, 2016
South Exhibit Hall H (Convention Center)
Linda Herbert, PhD, Elizabeth Flory, BS, Hemant P. Sharma, MD MHS FAAAAI
Rationale: Food allergy (FA) prevalence and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) may differ among demographic groups, but most studies have focused on predominantly Caucasian populations. This study characterizes FA and HRQoL among a racially diverse sample. 

Methods: An online survey assessed demographics, perceived risk of allergen exposure, perceived severity, FA worry, and HRQoL (Food Allergy Quality of Life– Parental Burden questionnaire) among 103 caregivers recruited from the pediatric allergy clinic at Children’s National Medical Center. 

Results: Caregivers were 8.7% Hispanic, 44.4% Caucasian, 26.2% African American, 8.7% Asian American, and 9.7% Non-Hispanic Other. Mean child age was 5.28 years (SD = 4.35); mean FA number was 2.85 (SD = 1.95). Prevalence of individual FAs were comparable among racial/ethnic groups; there were no significant differences in FA number, p > .05. Controlling for age, Asian Americans reported a significantly higher perceived risk of allergen exposure than African Americans, F (4, 92) = 2.89, p < .05. After controlling for age, there were no significant differences in perception of FA severity, FA worry, or HRQoL among racial/ethnic groups, p > .05, but notably, Asian Americans reported the highest perceived FA severity, African Americans were most worried, and Hispanics reported the worst HRQoL.    

Conclusions: Results from a diverse allergy clinic indicate no racial/ethnic differences regarding FA prevalence. Variations regarding FA perceptions and HRQoL were apparent. Additional research is needed with larger, diverse samples to further elucidate patterns of FA perceptions and HRQoL among racial/ethnic groups.