European Respiratory Society


The aim of the study was to assess the ability of the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS) questionnaire to provide data on the prevalence, type and reported symptoms associated with food intolerance from a group of young adults in Melbourne. Six hundred and sixty nine randomly selected subjects completed the questionnaire with 553 attending the laboratory for skin-prick tests, anthropometry, and ventilatory function tests. A further 207 symptomatic participants completed the questionnaire, with 204 of them attending the laboratory. Seventeen per cent of all respondents reported food intolerance or food allergy. A wide variety of food items was cited as being responsible for food-related illnesses. Those with current asthma did not report food-related illness more frequently than those without asthma. Respondents who reported respiratory symptoms following food ingestion were more likely to be atopic, to have used inhaled respiratory medications in the previous 12 months, reported less exposure to regular passive smoking over the past 12 months and weighed more. These associations between respiratory symptoms and food intolerance require further prospective investigation and verification. The importance of using appropriate dietary methodology in future studies for determining diet-disease relationships was highlighted by this study.