Prevalence of self-reported food allergies and their association with other health conditions among adults in Saudi Arabia

Nora A. Althumiri, Mada H. Basyouni, Norah Almousa, Mohammed F. Aljuwaysim, Nasser F. Bindhim, Saleh A. Alqahtani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Food allergies are a potentially life-threatening health issue, and few studies have deter-mined their prevalence throughout Saudi Arabia. The main objective of our study was to estimate the prevalence and distribution of self-reported food allergies, and explore their association with other health conditions among adults in Saudi Arabia. This study was a nationwide cross-sectional survey conducted via phone interviews in June 2020. A proportional quota-sampling technique was used to obtain equal distributions of participants by age and gender across the 13 regions of Saudi Arabia. Self-reported food allergy, height, weight, health conditions, mental health status, and demographic variables were collected. Of the 6239 participants contacted, 4709 (75.48%) participants responded and completed the interview. Furthermore, 50.1% of the participants were female, with a mean age of 36.4 ± 13.5 years (18–90 years). The prevalence of food allergies was 19.7%. The most self-reported food allergies were egg, shellfish and shrimp, and peanuts, with a prevalence of 3.7%, 3.1%, and 3.0%, respectively. There was an association between the presence of food allergies and reported bariatric surgery, asthma, colon disease, and being at risk of depression. Bariatric surgery was significantly associated with lower likelihood of self-reported allergy (OR 1.69, 95% CI 1.22–2.34, p = 0.002). This study revealed, for the first time, a high prevalence of self-reported food allergies among adults in Saudi Arabia in a large nationwide sample, and food allergy association with bariatric surgery, asthma, colon disease, and being at risk of depression. This information is valuable for clinicians and policymakers, particularly in terms of food allergen labeling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number347
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021

Keywords

  • Allergens
  • Food allergy
  • Prevalence
  • Risk factors
  • Saudi Arabia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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