Change in awareness of gluten-related disorders among chefs and the general public in the UK: a 10-year follow-up study


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Abstract

Background and objectivesIn view of the increasing popularity of a gluten-free diet, we sought to determine whether there has been a change in awareness of gluten-related disorders (GRD) among the general public and chefs.Materials and methodsA face-to-face questionnaire on coeliac disease (CD) and gluten sensitivity (GS) was performed on the general public and chefs based in Sheffield, UK. The assessment was first carried out in 2003 and repeated in 2013.ResultsIn total, 513 public members in 2003 (mean age 49.2 years, 62% women) were compared with 575 public members in 2013 (mean age 37.8 years, 57% women). There was a significant increase in the public’s awareness of GRD from the years 2003 to 2013, CD [44.2% to 74.4%, adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 3.9; 95% confidence interval (CI) 3.0–5.19] and GS (58.3% to 89%, AOR 7.1; 95% CI 5.0–9.98; P<0.001). Also, 322 chefs in 2003 (mean age 37.6 years, 15% women) were compared with 265 chefs in 2013 (mean age 27.1 years, 38% women). There was a significant increase in chefs’ awareness of GRD from the years 2003 to 2013, CD (17.1% to 78.1%, AOR 12.5; 95% CI 7.9–19.6) and GS (9.3% to 87.5%, AOR 65.7; 95% CI 35.4–122; P<0.001). Whereas in 2003 the public were significantly more aware of GRD than chefs, by 2013, this had reached a similar prevalence in both groups. In addition, the correct recognition of the gluten-free symbol was 44% for the public and 40% for chefs (P=0.28). Gluten-free products were sold by 41% of restaurants and 27% of takeaways (P=0.07).ConclusionThere has been a marked increase in both the public’s and chefs’ awareness of GRD. Such findings may ease the social phobia that individuals with GRD have traditionally been accustomed to.

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