Trick or treat? - When children with childhood food allergies lead parents into unhealthy food choices

Ali B. Mahmoud, Dieu Hack-Polay, Leonora Fuxman, Dina Naquiallah, Nicholas Grigoriou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: This study examines the relationships between childhood food allergy and parental unhealthy food choices for their children across attitudes towards childhood obesity as mediators and parental gender, income and education as potential moderators. Methods: We surveyed parents with at least one child between the ages of 6 and 12 living in Canada and the United States. We received 483 valid responses that were analysed using structural equation modelling approach with bootstrapping to test the hypothetical path model and its invariance across the moderators. Results: The analysis revealed that pressure to eat fully mediated the effects of childhood food allergy and restriction on parental unhealthy food choices for their children. Finally, we found that parental gender moderated the relationship between childhood food allergy and the pressure to eat. Conclusions: The paper contributes to the literature on food allergies among children and the marginalisation of families with allergies. Our explorative model is a first of its kind and offers a fresh perspective on complex relationships between variables under consideration. Although our data collection took place prior to Covid-19 outbreak, this paper bears yet particular significance as it casts light on how families with allergies should be part of the priority groups to have access to food supply during crisis periods.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1453
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sep 2020


  • Attitudes
  • Childhood obesity
  • COVID-19
  • Food allergy
  • Gender
  • Healthy eating
  • Parenting

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