Parental Perception of Most Helpful Resources for Parenting a Child with Food Allergies

Peter Victoria

The edifice of Kimball Tower.

The edifice of Kimball Tower.

Undergraduate Student Project

Introduction

Did you know that 1 in 13 children in the United States have a food allergy? These children, and their parents, face a unique set of challenges in their everyday lives.

My name is Peter Victoria, and I'm a junior Biomedical Sciences major at the University at Buffalo. I have been conducting research under Dr. Katherine Balantekin since the Fall of 2019. Considering my brother grew up with a peanut allergy, I always wondered about the best ways I could help my parents deal with the challenges that came with my brother's food allergy. Beginning this past fall, I helped design and disseminate an online survey that attempts to identify what resources parents of children with food allergies believe to be most helpful to them.

Everyone knows the challenges that accompany parenting a child. Less known, however, are the unique challenges that parents of children with food allergies face. We hope to identify the resources that parents of children with food allergies believe to be the most helpful in their daily lives.

Abstract

The prevalence of food allergies has increased in the United States. Food allergies affect many aspects of a family's life, including quality of life. Making sure that parents have adequate resources to manage their child's food allergy can increase quality of life. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to identify what resources parents believe to be the most helpful to them. To do this, 146 parents were asked the question: "What sort of resources do you think would be most helpful to you as the parent of a child with a food allergy?" Their answers were categorized into one of seven categories: labeling, support services, community awareness, food options, monetary assistance, specialized medical services, and other. The most commonly cited resource was support services, specifically focusing on in-person community relationships. This information can be used to develop resources for parents to help improve their family's quality of life.

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