Physician practice in food allergy prevention in the Middle East and North Africa

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 3
  • SDG 2
  • Abstract:

    BACKGROUND : A number of scientific organisations have developed guidelines for the primary prevention of allergic disease through nutritional interventions. However, even if the best evidence-based guidelines are available, these guidelines do not necessarily lead to adherence and improved health outcomes. METHOD : To determine how closely the practice of physicians in select Middle Eastern and North African countries compares with the current recommendations on the primary prevention of allergy a survey study was performed using a structured questionnaire and convenience sampling. RESULTS : A total of 1481 physicians responded, of which 66.1% were pediatricians. A total of 76.6% of responding physicians routinely identify infants who are at risk for developing allergy. In infants at risk for developing allergy, 89.1% recommend exclusive breastfeeding for at least 4 months. In contrast to current recommendations, 51.6% routinely recommend avoidance of any allergenic food in the lactating mother. In infants at risk of developing allergy who are completely formula fed, standard infant formula was recommended by 22.5% of responders. Of the responding physicians, 50.6% would recommend delaying the introduction of complementary food in infants at risk of allergy compared to those not at risk, whereas 62.5% would recommend postponing the introduction of potentially allergenic foods. Only 6.6% stated they follow all current recommendations on food allergy prevention. CONCLUSION : The results of this survey suggest that a substantial part of responding physicians from select Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) countries do not follow current recommendations on primary prevention of allergic disease through nutritional interventions.