Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


College of Education and Human Services


Nutrition and Food Studies

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Adrian Kerrihard

Committee Member

Mousumi Bose

Committee Member

Jamie Miller


Food allergies have become a global epidemic, affecting over 10% of the general population and 8% of children worldwide. Eliminating or limiting a food group from the diet can have adverse effects on micronutrient consumption. Milk allergies, for instance, can influence the amount of calcium consumed in the diet, particularly when limiting or excluding milk/milk-containing products from the diet. As milk products tend to be a primary source of dietary calcium, a milk allergy can serve as a barrier to meeting daily calcium needs.

Previous literature has analyzed the influence parents and caregivers have on their children’s diet, however, there is a gap in literature that analyzes the impact a child’s diet may have on members of their household. Moreover, there are no studies to the researchers’ knowledge that investigate the dietary impact that a child’s milk allergy may have on their parent or caregiver. To investigate the correlation between a child’s milk allergy and their parent’s or caregiver’s calcium consumption, this study surveyed parents and caregivers of a child with a milk allergy, intolerance, or suspected milk allergy (experimental group) and parents and caregivers of a child without a milk allergy (control group). A comparative analysis of mean calcium intake among the two groups was conducted using the validated Calcium Assessment Tool (CAT) to determine if a child’s allergy influences their parent’s or caregiver’s diet. The results demonstrated that the experimental group (272 mg/day) consumes a significantly lower quantity of calcium than the control group (520 mg/day; p=0.002). Notably, both groups consume inadequate calcium relative to the recommended dietary allowance of calcium of 1,000 mg/day.

Factors such as demographics, elimination and specialty diets, as well as satisfaction of healthcare provider care were also evaluated. Future research could investigate the impact a child’s milk allergy may have on their parent’s intake of additional micronutrients, as well as the impact other food allergies have on their parent’s micronutrient intake.

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