Food avoidance in children with adverse food reactions: Influence of anxiety and clinical parameters

TM Le, WT Zijlstra, EY van Opstal, MJ Knol, MP L'Hoir, AC (André) Knulst, Suzanne Pasmans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


BackgroundMany children in the general population avoid food because of self-reported adverse food reactions (AFR). Food avoidance can have negative consequences for well-being and nutritional status. This study aimed to investigate which factors are related to avoidance behavior in children (10-13yr old) from the general population. MethodsQuestionnaires for both mother and child were sent to participants from the Europrevall study: 164 children with self-reported AFR and 170 children without AFRs. Spielberger state anxiety and trait anxiety and clinical parameters, such as severity of the adverse reaction, specific IgE and doctor's diagnosis, were compared between those who have (had) AFR and avoid food (i.e., avoiders) and those who have (had) AFR(s) and do not avoid food (anymore; i.e., non-avoiders). ResultsIn total, 59% of the children with AFRs avoided food, of whom 26% had positive specific immunoglobulin E (sIgE). Child's state anxiety about an AFR was higher in avoiders than in non-avoiders, (p<0.001), whereas child's trait anxiety and maternal state anxiety and trait anxiety were comparable in both groups. Avoiders reported more often severe symptoms (i.e., generalized urticaria, respiratory or cardiovascular symptoms) than non-avoiders, (p=0.03). Food avoidance was not associated with ConclusionFood avoidance is related to child's state anxiety about an adverse food reaction. Food avoidance seems to be independent of a doctor's diagnosis of food allergy and advice on food avoidance.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)650-655
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Allergy and Immunology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Cite this