College students poor at managing food allergies: Study

Though 43 percent of student respondents to a recent University of Michigan survey said they have a food allergy, their likelihood of avoiding allergens and notifying food preparers of their allergy is “poor,” the study found.

Just 32 percent of students who don’t cook for themselves have allergen-free meal alternatives available at their school, according to the study, which compiled data from an online survey of more than 1,600 students from the Ohio State University, University of Michigan and University of Pittsburgh.

Of those students whose meal prep is out of their hands, 31 percent of foodservice workers knew of the students’ food allergy, while 22 percent reported that the food served in their dining halls was always labeled, according to the survey. Forty percent of students who reported having food allergies said they carried emergency medication, including a self-injectable epinephrine (epi) pen.

“Reported [food allergy] rates, levels of campus awareness and food labeling vary significantly among students at three universities,” Marilyn Karam, co-author of the study, concluded. “However, poor compliance rates with [self-injectable epinephrine] carriage, food preparer awareness and allergen avoidance are similar.”

Read the full story at healio.com.

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