Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
Allergy Unit

Student research


Health and Eating Behaviour in Women who attend
an Allergy Clinic

by
Simon Barden
Master of Science (Nutrition and Dietetics), University of Wollongong
Supervisors: Velencia Soutter, Robert Loblay, Anne Swain
November 2004

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Abstract

Aims: To investigate the diets of women attending the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Allergy Unit for nutritional adequacy and nut content.

Method: Participants for the study were recruited on a volunteer basis from the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Allergy Unit Sydney. A total of 25 participants between the ages 19 and 54 were recruited. Based on their questionnaire answers, participants were divided into four groups for nutritional analysis. These four groups were reference subjects from the clinic population on unmodified diets (n=18), pregnant (n=2), breastfeeding (n=3) and elimination diet (n=3). One subject fell into both the breastfeeding and elimination diet groups. The control group was determined as those subjects that were between the ages of 18 and 60 who were not part of any of the other groups. No subjects over the age of 60 were recruited. Subject groups were compared against the control group and the Dietary Guidelines for Australian Adults (DGAA) for nutritional adequacy and nut content, with t-tests being used to test for significant differences between the groups.

Results: It was found that the breastfeeding group did not meet the DGAA in regards to consumption of dairy and fruit. It was also found that the breastfeeding group ate significantly less dairy and fruit than the control group, with p values of 0.03 and 0.001 respectively. The elimination diet group was also found to not meet the DGAA in regards to fruit consumption and was significantly less than the control group with a p value of 0.002.

Conclusion: While dietary deficiencies in the breastfeeding and elimination diet groups may be of some concern on face value, more subjects need to be recruited in order to get conclusive results. The real value of these results is that they demonstrate trends, which can be followed up on in the future once more subjects have been recruited and analysed.