Elementary school students had improved attitudes toward food allergies and felt more confident in taking action during a food allergy emergency after completing an education program on the subject, results of a pilot study in Japan suggest.

At present there is no standard school curriculum for children regarding food allergy, wrote Dr. Kiwako Yamamoto-Hanada of the National Center for Child Health and Development, Tokyo, and associates, so they developed such a program consisting of two 60-minute sessions. A total of 36 elementary school children, 8 of whom had a history of food allergies, filled out questionnaires before and after participating in the program.

After completing the program, 79% of the students stated that it should be included in the school curriculum. Students also demonstrated improved knowledge about food allergies, with a greater percentage knowing what an EpiPen is (100% vs. 0%), understanding that food allergy is related to death (100% vs. 43%), and feeling confident that they could take immediate action if they saw a food allergy emergency (61% vs. 4%). “This is the first report to find that a [food allergy] program for elementary schoolchildren was well tolerated and that perceptions and attitudes toward [food allergies] improved,” the investigators wrote.

The authors stated that they had no financial conflicts of interest.

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