OBJECTIVE: To provide insight into food allergy knowledge and perceptions among pediatricians and family physicians in the United States. METHODS: A national sample of pediatricians and family physicians was recruited between April and July 2008 to complete the validated, Web-based Chicago Food Allergy Research Survey for Primary Care Physicians. Findings were analyzed to provide composite/itemized knowledge scores, describe attitudes and beliefs, and examine the effects of participant characteristics on response. RESULTS: The sample included 407 primary care physicians; 99% of the respondents reported providing care for food-allergic patients. Participants answered 61% of knowledge-based items correctly. Strengths and weaknesses were identified in each content domain evaluated by the survey. For example, 80% of physicians surveyed knew that the flu vaccine is unsafe for egg-allergic children, 90% recognized that the number of food-allergic children is increasing in the United States, and 80% were aware that there is no cure for food allergy. However, only 24% knew that oral food challenges may be used in the diagnosis of food allergy, 12% correctly rejected that chronic nasal problems are not symptom of food allergy, and 23% recognized that yogurts/cheeses from milk are unsafe for children with immunoglobulin E-mediated milk allergies. Fewer than 30% of the participants felt comfortable interpreting laboratory tests to diagnose food allergy or felt adequately prepared by their medical training to care for food-allergic children. CONCLUSIONS: Knowledge of food allergy among primary care physicians was fair. Opportunities for improvement exist, as acknowledged by participants' own perceptions of their clinical abilities in the management of food allergy.
- Family physicians
- Food allergy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health