Associations between food allergy, country of residence, and healthcare access

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Merrill, Kaitlyn A.
Abrams, Elissa M.
Good, Sara V.
Gupta, Ruchi S.
Venter, Carina
Frykas, Tara L. M.
Golding, Michael A.
Protudjer, Jennifer L. P.
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Abstract Background To date, little consideration has been given to access to allergy-related care, despite the fact that food allergy affects a considerable proportion of children. As such, the current study aimed to describe access to food allergy-related services in Canada and the United States (US). Methods Participants were recruited via social media from March-July 2021 and were asked to complete an online survey focused on food allergy-related medical care. Participants were Canadian and US residents who live with a child < 18 years old, with ≥ 1 food allergy. A series of logistic regressions were used to assess the associations between country of residence and type of allergy testing utilized during diagnosis. Results Fifty-nine participants were included in the analysis (Canadian: 32/59; 54.2%; US residents: 27/59; 45.8%). Relative to Canadian participants, US respondents were less likely to be diagnosed using an oral food challenge (OFC; OR 0.16; 95% CI 0.04; 0.75: p < 0.05). Compared to children diagnosed by age 2 years, those diagnosed at age 3 years and older were less likely to have been diagnosed using an OFC (OR 0.12; 95% CI 0.01; 1.01; p = 0.05). Conclusions Access to food allergy-related services, varies between Canada and the US. We speculate that this variation may reflect differences in clinical practice and types of insurance coverage. Findings also underscore the need for more research centered on food allergy-related health care, specifically diagnostic testing, among larger and more diverse samples.
Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology. 2022 Dec 06;18(1):103