Food allergy knowledge of parents - is ignorance bliss?

Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2013 Sep;24(6):567-73. doi: 10.1111/pai.12099. Epub 2013 Jun 25.


Background: Food allergic children are at least partially dependent on their parents to care for their food allergy. In addition, parents are often responsible for the education of others regarding food allergy, including the family, school, neighbors, and friends. The aim of this study was to investigate food allergy knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs of parents with food allergic children in the Netherlands. In addition, a cross-cultural comparison was made between parents from the USA and parents from the Netherlands.

Methods: The original Chicago Food Allergy Research Survey for Parents of Children with Food Allergy (CFARS-PRNT) was translated into Dutch. Parents of children with at least one doctor-diagnosed food allergy were included. Knowledge scores and attitude/beliefs scores were determined and compared with the data from 2945 parents from the USA. Predictors of overall knowledge scores were investigated.

Results: Dutch parents of children completed the translated CFARS-PRNT (n = 299). The mean overall knowledge score in the Netherlands was 9.9 after adjusting for guessing, compared with 12.7 in the USA (p < 0.001). Attitudes and beliefs regarding food allergy among parents from the Netherlands were generally more optimistic. The overall knowledge scores could be predicted by country of origin, educational degree, being member of a patient organization, visiting an allergist, and a history of anaphylaxis.

Conclusions: Food allergy knowledge among parents of food allergic children from the Netherlands is suboptimal when compared with their counterparts from the USA, although these parents tend to be more optimistic toward food allergy than parents from the USA.

Keywords: attitudes; beliefs; food allergy; knowledge; parents.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Food Hypersensitivity / epidemiology*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Netherlands
  • Parents
  • Patient Education as Topic / statistics & numerical data
  • Quality Improvement
  • Quality of Life
  • Socioeconomic Factors*
  • United States