Food allergy knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs of primary care physicians

Ruchi S. Gupta, Elizabeth E. Springston, Jennifer S. Kim, Bridget Smith, Jacqueline A. Pongracic, Xiaobin Wang, Jane Louise Holl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-132
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010


  • Anaphylaxis
  • Diagnosis
  • Family physicians
  • Food allergy
  • Knowledge
  • Pediatricians
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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