Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition, Aging and Chronic Disease, Obesity
The prevalence of food allergies has been increasing in Korean schools. The need for food allergy management in school meals has become important. The purpose of this study was to investigate the level of knowledge on food allergies and the actual condition of school food management by nutrition teachers, health teachers, and homeroom teachers.
Methods : This survey was conducted in cooperation with the Ministry of Education September 2015. From 17 cities and provinces, a total of 1,000 elementary, middle, and high schools were selected by a 2-stage stratified random sampling design. Nutrition teachers, health teachers and homeroom teachers were surveyed using a questionnaire on the perception and management status of food allergy.
Results : According to the results, 2.5% of nutrition teachers, 2.9% of health teachers, and 47.3% of homeroom teachers answered that they do not know about anaphylaxis, which is a severe food allergy symptom. Of the total nutrition teachers, 96.6% knew the causal foods of anaphylaxis, and 79.2% answered that students with food allergy tried not to be exposed to the causal food during lunch time or class. However, 44.1% of the nutrition teachers, 64.8% of the health teachers, and 79.2% of the homeroom teachers answered that they have never received training or education about food allergy. In case of a food allergy accident occurrence, 66.9% of the respondents replied that 'would not administer emergency treatment'. The reasons for this, 85.8% of the respondents said ‘If the health teacher is in charge of emergency management, there are legal problems that conflict with other medical laws', and 79.3% responded that ‘there is no legal protection for a manager against food allergy accidents’, and 14.6% answered 'do not know how to manage food allergy'
Conclusions : Although most nutrition and health teachers except homeroom teachers are aware of the risk of food allergy and anaphylactic reactions, there is insufficient management system and legal guarantee in case of emergency and systematic education on food allergy management methods. Therefore, there are necessary to develop guidelines for food allergy management to cope effectively and systemically for the emergency situations, and to be continuous educations of food allergy for teachers
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