Early life triggers for food allergy, that in turn impacts dietary habits in childhood

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Emilia Vassilopoulou
Elisabeth Vardaka
Dimitris Efthymiou
Constantinos Pitsios


Breast-feeding, smoking, food processing, food allergy, food hypersensitivity, food consumption


Introduction and objectives: In order to investigate food allergy’s prevalence, risk factors and eating behavior of children with relevant anamnesis, a study was performed in Cypriot primary schools.
Patients: A specially composed questionnaire for self-reported adverse reactions to food, cre-ated in the context of the EuroPrevall study, was distributed in 13 representative primary schools across the country. Participants were sub-grouped into three groups; healthy (H), those with unconfirmed food hypersensitivity reactions (FA−) and children with a confirmed diagnosis by a physician IgE-mediated food allergy (FA+). Food habits, family health history and lifestyle factors were assessed and groups’ outcomes were compared with each other.
Results: For the study, 202 questionnaires were completed and returned; 31 children (19 FA-and 12 FA+) reported an adverse food reaction. Significant risk factors for developing FA+ were being the first born or having siblings with asthma, attended a day nursery, but also maternal alcohol drinking during pregnancy, parental smoking and parental occupation in food processing or use of latex gloves. The presence of children in the kitchen during cooking showed a protective role. Dietary habits of FA+ children were significantly diminished in terms of variety and frequency of consumption in comparison to the rest, in which had a greater overlap.

Conclusion: Further research is required for the interesting risk or protective factors revealing from the current investigation. The negative effect of food allergy in the dietary habits of food allergic children documented in the literature, is strongly supported herein.

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