Honors in Nutrition
Date of Award
Thesis Professor Department
<--College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences-->
Mary Andreae, Michelle Johnson
Background: The purpose of this research study was to assess the role of healthcare in the diagnosis and treatment of food allergens. A food allergy is defined as an “adverse health effect arising from a specific immune response which occurs reproducibly on exposure to a given food” (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, n.d.). There are eight major food allergens, which account for the majority of food allergies.
Methods: Data was obtained using a survey posted on Facebook and Instagram with a shareable feature after obtaining IRB approval from East Tennessee State University. The survey was comprised of six questions and was posted for 28 days. There were 70 responses; however, 13 data sets were incomplete and therefore removed.
Results: In total there were 98 food allergens reported. 75.5% of these fell into the “Big Eight” categories, and the remaining 24.5% were “other” food allergens. These included 27 different allergens. Most commonly, food allergens were diagnosed during adolescence (40.4%) due to a severe reaction (54.4%). Trial-and-error was the most common form of diet education (40.4%), and zero participants received education from a Registered Dietitian. When asked about knowledge, at diagnosis, 80.7% reported no to some knowledge of their food allergen. Currently, 78.9% of participants report being knowledgeable to very knowledgeable.
Conclusions: Healthcare should further explore the role of the RD when it comes to food allergen diagnosis and treatment. Further studies could include a larger population and minors. Other related studies could involve healthcare professionals to determine their roles in the food allergen diagnosis and treatment process.
East Tennessee State University
Honors Thesis - Open Access
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.
Fairchild, Samantha, "Assessing Food Allergen Onset, Early Diagnosis, and Nutrition Education" (2021). Undergraduate Honors Theses. Paper 743. https://dc.etsu.edu/honors/743
Copyright by the authors.