Prevalence of self-reported food allergies among the Saudi population and investigation of the challenges faced by people with food allergy: A cross sectional online survey-based study

Authors

  • Sara Zaher Clinical Nutrition Department, Faculty of Applied Medical Sciences, Taibah University https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7478-0113
  • Khlood Bookari Clinical Nutrition Department, Faculty of Applied Medical Sciences, Taibah University
  • Jamila Arrish National Nutrition Committee (NNC), Saudi Food and Drug Authority (Saudi FDA)
  • Ruyuf Alnafisah National Nutrition Committee (NNC), Saudi Food and Drug Authority (Saudi FDA)
  • Rawan alobaid Healthy Food Department, Saudi Food and Drug Authority, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
  • Norah Albuayjan National Nutrition Committee (NNC), Saudi Food and Drug Authority (Saudi FDA)
  • Albandari Binammar Clinical Nutrition Department, Faculty of Applied Medical Sciences, University of Hail, Saudi Arabia
  • Abdulrahman Alsayegh Clinical Nutrition Department, Faculty of Applied Medical Sciences, Jazan University, Saudi Arabia
  • Eman A. Abduljawad Food and Nutrition Department, Faculty of Human Sciences and Design, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
  • Reham A. Halawani National Nutrition Committee (NNC), Saudi Food and Drug Authority (Saudi FDA)
  • Majid M Alkhalaf National Nutrition Committee (NNC), Saudi Food and Drug Authority (Saudi FDA)
  • Hala Al-Otaibi Department of Food and Nutrition Science, College of Agricultural and Food Science, King Faisal University, Saudi Arabia

Keywords:

food allergy, IgE, allergens, Allergenic food

Abstract

Background: The topic of food allergy (FA) is widely studied and investigated in developed countries. However, there are lack of published reports concerning FA prevalence in the middle-east region including Saudi Arabia (KSA).  Therefore, we aimed to assess the prevalence of FA among children and adults in KSA and to identify the most common types of FAs.

Methodology: An online survey was distributed to collect information about the prevalence of self-reported FA, type of FA and challenges faced by food allergic people.

Results: We received 15142 responses of those 3237(21%) subjects were diagnosed with FA or taking care of someone with FA. About 15% of food allergic subjects were ≥18 years and 6.4% were <18 years. Egg was the most reported allergenic foods among our cohort for both age groups, followed by peanut and milk among the younger group and crustacean and wheat in the group ≥18 years of age. About 22% of the participants in the group ≥18 years of age have experienced food anaphylaxis at least once in the past 12 months. While 15% of the younger group had food anaphylaxis at least once in the last year. Subject's characteristics such as age, income has shown to influence the odds of experiencing food anaphylaxis.

Conclusion: The current study recorded a relatively high prevalence of self-reported FA in KSA. It also highlighted some of the challenges faced by Participants with food allergies such as lack of proper meal options for their allergic condition in restaurantsand unclarity of allergenic food in the menus. These findings shed light on the need to implement policies in favour of people with FA such as allergen labelling in restaurant’s menus and food delivery platforms.

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Published

21-03-2023

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Original articles

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1.
Prevalence of self-reported food allergies among the Saudi population and investigation of the challenges faced by people with food allergy: A cross sectional online survey-based study. Progr Nutr [Internet]. 2023 Mar. 21 [cited 2024 May 25];25(1):e2023017. Available from: https://mattioli1885journals.com/index.php/progressinnutrition/article/view/13504