Table of Contents
Journal of Allergy
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 2051916, 8 pages
Research Article

Exploring the Concern about Food Allergies among Secondary School and University Students in Ontario, Canada: A Descriptive Analysis

1School of Public Health and Health Systems, University of Waterloo, 200 University Ave. West, Waterloo, ON, Canada N2L 3G1
2Public Health Ontario, Suite 300, 480 University Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada M5G 1V2

Correspondence should be addressed to Shannon E. Majowicz

Received 25 January 2017; Accepted 16 April 2017; Published 16 May 2017

Academic Editor: Marek L. Kowalski

Copyright © 2017 Shannon E. Majowicz et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Our objective was to explore the perceived risk of food allergies among students in Ontario, Canada. We analyzed blinding questions (“I am concerned about food allergies”; “food allergies are currently a big threat to my health”) from three existing food safety surveys, given to high school and university undergraduate students () circa February 2015, using descriptive analysis, and explored how concern related to demographics and self-reported cooking ability using linear regression. Overall, high school students were neutral in their concern, although Food and Nutrition students specifically were significantly less concerned () than high school students overall. University undergraduates were moderately unconcerned about food allergies. Concern was highest in younger students, decreasing between 13 and 18 years of age and plateauing between 19 and 23 years. Among students aged 13–18 years, concern was higher among those who worked or volunteered in a daycare and who had previously taken a food preparation course. Among students aged 19–23 years, concern was higher among females and those with less advanced cooking abilities. Concern was significantly correlated with perceiving food allergies as a personal threat. This study offers a first exploration of perceived risk of food allergies among this demographic and can guide future, more rigorous assessments.