Likely questionnaire-diagnosed food allergy in 78, 890 adults from the northern Netherlands

Westerlaken-van Ginkel, C. D., Vonk, J. M., Flokstra-de Blok, B. M. J., Sprikkelman, A. B., Koppelman, G. H. & Dubois, A. E. J., 13-May-2020, In : PLoS ONE. 15, 5, 18 p., 0231818.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Background It is challenging to define likely food allergy (FA) in large populations which limited the number of large studies regarding risk factors for FA. Objective We studied the prevalence and characteristics of self-reported FA (s-rFA) in the large, population-based Dutch Lifelines cohort and identified associated risk factors. Methods Likely food allergic cases (LikelyFA) were classified based on questionnaire reported characteristics consistent with FA. Subjects with atypical characteristics were classified as Indeterminate. We investigated 13 potential risk factors for LikelyFA such as birth mode and living on a farm and addressed health-related quality of life (H-RQOL). Results Of the 78, 890 subjects, 12.1% had s-rFA of which 4.0% and 8.1% were classified as LikelyFA and Indeterminate, respectively. Younger age, female sex, asthma, eczema and nasal allergy increased the risk of LikelyFA (p-value range <1.00*10−250–1.29*10−7). Living in a small city/large village or suburb during childhood was associated with a higher risk of LikelyFA than living on a farm (p-value = 7.81*10−4 and p = 4.84*10−4, respectively). Subjects classified as Indeterminate more often reported depression and burn-out compared to those without FA (p-value = 1.46*10−4 and p = 8.39*10−13, respectively). No association was found with ethnicity, (duration of) breastfeeding, birth mode and reported eating disorder. Mental and physical component scores measuring H-RQOL were lower in both those classified as LikelyFA and Indeterminate compared to those without FA. Conclusion The prevalence of s-rFA among adults is considerable and one-third reports characteristics consistent with LikelyFA. Living on a farm decreased the risk of LikelyFA. The association of poorer H-RQOL as well as depression and burn-out with questionable self-perceived FA is striking and a priority for future study.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0231818
Number of pages18
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 13-May-2020



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