NOURISH-US: patieNt-Oriented research to Understand and addRess Inequities of food accesS and insecurity amongst Households managing food allergy – a Unique intervention Study
As unemployment rates have doubled since the start of the COVID‑19 pandemic, many families are at risk for food insecurity. Compared to families with no food restrictions, families whose children have food allergy are saddled with higher food costs, prior to, and during the pandemic. Yet, existing food banks in Manitoba do not adequately support these families with food allergy, given the increased demand for food bank services by the non-allergic families and thus, the inability of food banks to support families with food allergy. Our patient-oriented food allergy research project aims to understand and mitigate the inequities of food access and insecurity. Using data on food insecurity and food allergy, collected immediately before and during the pandemic, we will establish national rates of food insecurity, and food costs during the pandemic, and compare these to pre-pandemic levels, amongst households managing food allergy. Then, we will conduct an allergy-friendly food delivery intervention amongst economically-disadvantaged households managing cow’s milk allergy in Winnipeg. Data collected at the start, and the end of the trial will help us understand how to mitigate the impact of food allergy and food insecurity, including how mental health is impacted when subsidies are in place. We will share our findings via scientific conferences and publications. Our team of investigators has internationally recognized expertise in pediatric food allergy, mental health and policy. We will work with collaborators with expertise in philanthropy and health economics to use the findings from this one-year study to ensure sustainability of the project. Our well-defined project and long-term vision are critical, as the impacts of the COVID‑19 pandemic will take years to mitigate.