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Challenges experienced with early introduction and sustained consumption of allergenic foods in the Enquiring About Tolerance (EAT) study: A qualitative analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Enquiring About Tolerance (EAT) study team

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1615-1623
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number6
Published1 Dec 2019

King's Authors


Background: The early introduction group participants of the Enquiring About Tolerance study were asked to undertake a proscriptive regimen of early introduction and sustained consumption of 6 allergenic foods. It was envisaged that this might be challenging, and early introduction group families were presented with an open-text question to express any problems they were experiencing with the regimen in recurring online questionnaires. Objective: We sought to analyze these open-text questionnaire responses with the aim of identifying challenges associated with the introduction and regular consumption of allergenic foods. Methods: Three combinations of interim questionnaire responses were selected for analysis, representing the early period (4, 5, and 6 months), middle period (8 and 12 months), and late period (24 and 36 months) of participation in the Enquiring About Tolerance study. Responses were assigned a code to describe their content and subsequently grouped into themes to portray key messages. A thematic content analysis allowed for conversion of qualitative codes into quantitative summaries. Results: Three main challenges to allergenic food consumption were identified. First, some children refused the allergenic food, causing a sense of defeat among caregivers. Second, caregivers were concerned that allergenic foods might be causing a reaction, triggering a need for reassurance. Third, practical problems associated with the regimen compromised caregivers' capacity to persist. Conclusion: Understanding the challenges experienced with allergenic food introduction and sustained consumption is the necessary precursor to developing specific communication and support strategies that could be used by caregivers, practitioners, policymakers, and key stakeholders to address these problems.

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