Socioeconomic evaluation of well-characterized allergy to staple foods in adults

Allergy. 2014 Sep;69(9):1241-7. doi: 10.1111/all.12443. Epub 2014 Jun 16.


Background: The aim of the present study was to evaluate if total, direct, indirect, and intangible costs differ between a cohort of adults with well-characterized allergy to staple foods ('cases') and controls.

Methods: Swedish adults with objectively diagnosed food allergy to cow's milk, hen's egg, and/or wheat were recruited at an outpatient allergy clinic. Controls age- and sex-matched to cases were recruited from the same geographic area. For assessing the household costs of food allergy, a disease-specific socioeconomic questionnaire, developed within EuroPrevall, was utilized.

Results: Overall annual total costs at the household level were significantly higher among adults with food allergy compared with controls (the difference amounted to 8164 €), whereas direct costs did not differ between cases and controls. However, household healthcare costs and costs for medicines were significantly higher for cases vs controls. Furthermore, indirect costs were significantly higher for households with food-allergic adults vs households without food-allergic adults. Specifically, more time was spent on performing domestic tasks due to a family member's food-allergy-related illness, as well as shopping and preparing food, and seeking food-allergy-related information. Presence of food allergy also affected intangible costs. Adults with food allergy experienced overall lower health status compared with controls.

Conclusions: Swedish adults with allergy to staple foods have higher total costs determined as direct, indirect, and intangible costs using the disease-specific socioeconomic questionnaire. Thus, total costs were 8164 € higher per year in households with at least one adult allergic to staple foods compared with controls.

Keywords: adults; food allergy; household costs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Costs and Cost Analysis*
  • Female
  • Food Hypersensitivity / economics*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Social Class
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden
  • Young Adult