Food allergy competencies of dietitians in the United Kingdom, Australia and United States of America

Kate Maslin, Rosan Meyer, Liane Reeves, Heather Mackenzie, Anne Swain, Wendy Stuart-Smith, Rob Loblay, Marion Groetch, Carina Venter

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Abstract

Background
A knowledgeable and competent dietitian is an integral part of the food allergy multidisciplinary team, contributing to effective diagnosis and management of food allergic disorders. Little is currently known about the food allergy training needs and preferences of dietitians. The purpose of this paper is to measure and compare self-reported food allergy competencies of dietitians based in the UK, Australia and USA.

Methods
A survey of USA-based paediatric dietitians was developed to measure self-reported proficiency and educational needs in the area of food allergy. The survey was modified slightly and circulated online to paediatric and adult dietitians in the UK and Australia. Descriptive statistics and Pearson correlations are presented.

Results
A total of 797 dietitians completed the questionnaire. Competency in “developing food challenge protocols” and “managing feeding problems” were rated the poorest overall across all three settings. A higher level of competency was significantly positively associated with length of practice as a dietitian, percentage of caseload composed of patients with food allergy and training in food allergy. The most popular topics for further training were food additives, pharmacological reactions and oral allergy syndrome.

Conclusions
There is a need amongst dietitians to increase their knowledge in different aspects of food allergy diagnosis and management, specifically the areas of developing food challenge protocols and management of feeding problems. This study provides valuable information for designing targeted food allergy education for dietitians.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37
JournalClinical and Translational Allergy
Volume4
Issue number1
Early online date14 Nov 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014

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