Information and support from dietary consultation for mothers of children with food allergies

Heather MacKenzie, Jane Grundy, Gill Glasbey, Tara Dean, Carina Venter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Background
Professional dietetic input is essential to ensure that children with diagnosed food allergies have an individualized avoidance plan and nutritionally adequate diet. However, it is not clear what dietary information and support parents require.

Objective
To explore what information and support parents of children with food allergies require from a dietary consultation.

Methods
Focus groups were conducted with 17 mothers who attend an allergy center for dietary advice for their food allergic child. A number of issues around food allergy dietary advice needs were explored and analyzed using thematic analysis.

Results
Six themes were identified. The mothers described how they sought to protect their child from harm, to maintain normality for their child, and to promote child independence. They described needing to become an expert in their child's food allergy and fight their corner when needed. The dietitian supported their needs by ensuring their child's diet was safe and nutritionally adequate and giving information and support to help them provide a normal life for their child. Dietitians also taught mothers about food allergy and provided advocacy and emotional support.

Conclusion
Mothers of children with food allergies want to understand how to provide a nutritionally adequate, allergen-safe diet while maintaining a normal life. Hence, mothers value a range of support from dietitians, including monitoring their child's health and providing information, practical advice and support, and emotional support.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-29
JournalAnnals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
Volume114
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015

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