An examination of 6,829 questionnaires completed by the parents of children with food allergies at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center as part of a retrospective chart review expands upon previous studies showing that food allergies negatively affect quality of life (QOL). Questionnaires were scored from 0-100, with higher scores corresponding with worse QOL. “Based on our questionnaire, Asian parents of children with food allergy living in the US had a mean score of 50.5, indicating a ‘fairly’ negative impact on quality of life, which was significantly higher than white and Black parents,” said lead study author Christine Rubeiz, MD, in a press release. “White and Black parents had mean scores of 40.4 and 40.9, respectively, corresponding closer to the food allergy having ‘a little bit’ of a negative impact on quality of life.” Adding to Dr. Rubeiz’s sentiments, senior study author, Amal Assa’ad, MD, said, “Our study showed Asian parents had significantly higher scores (worse QOL) in both higher and lower socioeconomic groups. “Most studies of Asian children have been done in Asia, where the prevalence of food allergy is 3% to 8%. Some estimates of food allergy in the general US population report a similar prevalence—about 8%. Asian families with food allergy appear to have worse food allergy-related quality of life [FAQOL] compared [with] other races, according to our research. This highlights the need for further studies on the impact of food allergy on Asian families, who may be an under-recognized population.”

Dr. Rubeiz added, “We found other significant racial disparities in FAQOL scores, particularly with Black and Hispanic patients. Within the Medicaid population, we found that Black and Hispanic patients and parents had significantly higher scores (worse quality of life) compared [with] white patients and parents. Cultural food preferences and the financial burden of food allergy may be a factor in this finding.”