Impact of Parent-Reported Food Allergies on Children's Growth and Quality of Life of the Caregivers
Monday, March 7, 2016
South Exhibit Hall H (Convention Center)
Tanya Kajornrattana, Pasuree Sangsupawanich, MD, PhD, Araya Yuenyongviwat, MD
Rationale: Some caregivers who believe their children have food allergies avoid feeding certain foods to their children without proper allergy tests. Such actions, made without a proper diagnosis, can negatively impact children’s health and impose unnecessary burden on the caregivers. In this study, we hypothesized that parent-reported allergies without proper diagnosis can result in higher stress levels for the caregivers, and might deter the children’s growth.

Methods: An observational cross-sectional study was performed in 200 children aged less than five years, who have parent-reported food allergies. The caregivers’ Quality of Life (QoL) was evaluated by two questionnaires - the Food Allergy Quality of Life-Parental Burden (FAQL-PB) and the Scale of Psychosocial Factors in Food Allergy (SPS-FA). The growth of the children was evaluated by their weight-for-age and length/height-for-age percentiles.

Results: Among the caregivers, 50% expressed worry that their children might be allergic to some foods, and 30% were concerned about leaving their children in others’ care. According to the QoL scores, caregivers whose children underwent Oral Food Challenges (OFC) were significantly less stressed, while caregivers whose children had multiple food allergies and had experienced at least one anaphylactic reaction were significantly more stressed. Regarding the children’s growth, the distributions of both weight-for-age and length/height-for-age percentiles were normal in the 50th percentile range, showing no significant differences from the general population. 

Conclusions: Parent-reported food allergies could put caregivers under high stress, but the OFC test could reduce stress among anxious, over-parenting caregivers. Parent-reported food allergies did not result in the diets that deterred children’s growth.