Study: Adolescents with More Support Take Fewer Food Allergy Risks

Greater support from family, friends, and school administration leads to less risk taking by adolescents and teens coping with food allergies, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.

Food allergy related deaths are most common in this age group, claiming nearly 70% of fatalities.

Said senior author Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH, pediatrician and researcher at Ann & Robert H Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago:

Dr Ruchi Gupta

“We know that many adolescents and young adults with food allergies regularly engage in behaviors that increase their risk of a life-threatening reaction, such as eating in restaurants without asking about allergenic ingredients. Our findings underscore that support is critical for these young people. Our results also suggest that school-level policies may promote reduced risk-taking behavior in teens with food allergies.”

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According to the study, students with an individualized “504” accommodation plan at school were much less likely to engage in risky behaviors related to their food allergies.

“While school-based 504 accommodation plans are federally mandated, many parents of children with food allergies are unaware that they are an option,” said Gupta. “More efforts to educate students with food allergies and their families about the possible benefits of 504 plans may be warranted.”

The study surveyed 200 adolescents and young adults with food allergies, 14-22 years of age. Having a peanut allergy, supportive female friends and an overprotective mother were also associated with less risky behavior.

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We at SnackSafely.com urge all parents of school-age children with severe food allergies to develop an individualized accommodation plan with their child’s school administration. You can find an informative presentation regarding 504 and IHCP plans here.

Source: When Do Teens with Food Allergies Take Fewer Risks? – Lurie Children’s Hospital Press Release
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