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Risks of eating disorder development in a national food allergy cohort: The RiskED study

AIFA Early Career Research Grant 

Chief Investigator: Ms Daniela Ciciulla, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Melbourne 

Research Team: A/Prof Jennifer Koplin (University of Queensland), Dr Vicki McWilliam and A/Prof Rachel Peters (MCRI) 

Daniela CiciullaChronic diseases involving strict dietary adherence have been associated with an increased risk of eating disorders (EDs). Our recent systematic review suggested that eating disorders may be more prevalent in individuals with food allergy compared to those without. Eating disorders have an increased risk of premature mortality, a high personal and economic burden and lengthy delays in diagnosis and treatment. However, research is limited exploring risk factors for eating disorders in those living with food allergy. This project aims to identify predictive as well as modifiable factors that increase the risk of eating disorders in individuals with food allergy. This will be the first survey of its kind and will provide valuable insights into factors that can help identify individuals at a higher risk of eating disorders.

This cross-sectional study will involve an Australia wide survey targeted and distributed to youth and young adults with a food allergy (14 - 39 years old) through Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia (A&AA) and the National Allergy Councils’ 250k Project Facebook page, website and email database. The survey will be designed to be completed in no longer than 20 minutes, will be anonymous and will be accessed via an online link. The potential clinical impact of this study includes reduced overall burden of individuals with food allergy by aiding early detection and treatment of eating disorders when complicated by a food allergy.