Background: To date no studies have compared generic health-related quality of life (HRQL) of food allergic patients from childhood to adulthood with that of the general population or patients with other chronic diseases. The aim of this study was to compare generic HRQL of food allergic patients with the general population and other diseases.
Methods: Generic HRQL questionnaires (CHQ-CF87 and RAND-36) were completed by 79 children, 74 adolescents and 72 adults with food allergy. The generic HRQL scores were compared with scores from published studies on the general population and patients with asthma, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diabetes mellitus (DM) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Results: Food allergic children and adolescents reported fewer limitations in school work due to behavioural problems (P < or = 0.013), but food allergic adolescents and adults reported more pain (P = 0.020), poorer overall health (P < 0.001), more limitations in social activities (P < 0.001) and less vitality (P = 0.002) than individuals from the general population. Food allergic patients reported poorer generic HRQL than patients with DM, but better generic HRQL than patients with RA, asthma and IBS.
Conclusion: HRQL is impaired in food allergic adolescents and adults, compared to the general population, and it is intermediate in magnitude between DM and RA, asthma and IBS. Children show the least impact on generic HRQL from food allergy.