This week, the first ever meeting of the Committee on Food Allergies, a collaborative effort between the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) and the Institutes of Medicine (IOM) took place on June 22 with an open session and then again on June 23 during a closed meeting. This collaboration is a product of the IOM’s sponsorship of an AFAA’s study entitled, “Food Allergies: Global Burden, Causes, Treatment, Prevention and Public Policy,” which aims to examine critical issues, as well as develop a framework for increasing public awareness, promoting research and identifying research gaps for this important public health issue.
According to the CDC, 50 million Americans have an allergy of some kind, with 4 percent of adults and 4 to 6 percent of children suffering with food allergies. In children diagnosed with food allergies their chances are 2 to 4 times more likely to have asthma or other allergic conditions than those without food allergies.
The Committee on Food Allergies, study investigators propose to achieve their investigative aims by engaging numerous stakeholders within the field, including:
- government agencies
- academic institutions
- policy makers
- patient organizations
- parent groups
These stakeholders will provide valuable insight on issues surrounding food allergies such as, the prevalence, severity, and impact of food allergy, as well as the current understanding of food allergy in diagnostics, treatments, prevention and public policy.
In an AAFA press release about the study, Lynda Mitchell, AAFA’s Senior Vice President of Community Services, and founder of Kids With Food Allergies (KFA), a division of AAFA, stated, “We know how important research is to the food allergy community. The Institute of Medicine is a highly respected national adviser of issues related to medicine and health. This is an important study for the food allergy community. AAFA is honored to be involved to represent the patients we serve.”
The collaborative group expects to have a final study report completed in approximately 16 months.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), a not-for-profit organization founded in 1953, is the leading patient organization for people with asthma, allergies and related conditions. AAFA provides practical information, community-based services and support through a national network of chapters and support groups. AAFA provides health education, organizes state and national advocacy efforts and funds research to find better treatments and cures.
Kids with Food Allergies (KFA) is a division of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. KFA is dedicated to keeping children with food allergies safe and healthy until a cure for food allergy is found. KFA is an essential part of the food allergy and anaphylaxis community offering free education programs for families and caregivers, webinars, allergy buyers’ guide, an electronic database of allergen-free recipes and more. Most notably, KFA’s website hosts the largest and most active online food allergy and anaphylaxis community, a critical platform for parents and caregivers who want to network with others about raising kids with food allergies and related diseases. KFA has been educating and supporting families since 2005. KFA became a division of AAFA in 2013.