, Volume 156, Issue 2, pp 110-112

Food intolerance (food hypersensitivity) and chronic complaints in children: the parents' perception

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The aim of the study was to assess the prevalence of food intolerance (FI) in Dutch 5- and 6-year-old children and its association with chronic ailments with a survey among parents by questionnaire. Based on parents' perception the prevalence of “probable” FI was 3.8% . FI was associated with asthma, wheezing, eczema, hay fever, chronic rhinitis, hives, chronic diarrhoea and hyperactive behaviour. The Dutch research results are commensurate with the findings of a study carried out in the U.K. Parents frequently associate FI with eczema, hives, chronic diarrhoea and hyperactivity. The association with FI remains for asthma, wheezing, chronic rhinitis, hay fever, chronic diarrhoea and hyperactive behaviour even after adjustment for this information bias.

Conclusion Many parents are not aware that chronic ailments in their child may be caused by FI. The associations of FI and chronic complaints are strong enough to justify the discussion with parents during the client contacts by school physicians, in order to assess the advantages of consulting a paediatrician or allergologist.

Received: 13 March 1996 / 1 August 1996