The excess costs of childhood food allergy on Canadian families: a cross-sectional study Golding, Michael A.; Simons, Elinor; Abrams, Elissa M.; Gerdts, Jennifer; Protudjer, Jennifer L. P.
Background: The impact of childhood food allergy on household costs has not been examined in Canada. The current study sought to examine differences in direct, indirect, and intangible costs among Canadian families with and without a food-allergic child. Methods: Families with a child with a specialist-diagnosed food allergy (cases) were recruited from two tertiary pediatric allergy clinics in the Province of Manitoba, Canada, and matched, based on age and sex, to families without a food-allergic child (controls). Cost data for the two groups were collected via an adapted version of the Food Allergy Economic Questionnaire (FA-EcoQ). Consideration was given to income, defined as above vs. below the provincial annual median income. Results: Results from 35 matched case/control pairs revealed that while total household costs did not significantly differ between cases and controls, food-allergic families did incur higher direct costs ($12,455.69 vs. $10,078.93, p = 0.02), which were largely attributed to spending on food. In contrast, cases reported lower, but not statistically significant, total indirect costs compared to controls ($10,038.76 vs. $12,294.12, p = 0.06). Families also perceived their food-allergic child as having poorer quality of life relative to their healthy peers. Lastly, stratification of the analyses by annual income revealed several differences between the higher and lower income groups. Conclusions: Relative to families without a food-allergic child, food-allergic families incurred higher direct costs across a number of different areas.
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