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Breakfast Tuesday, 19 March, 2002, 08:57 GMT
Do you have a food allergy?
Almost one person in three believes they have a food allergy - and yet fewer than TWO per cent actually do.

According to a report published today, by the Industry analysts Datamonitor, thirty per cent of people, including children, are unnecessarily depriving themselves of nutritious foods.

The BBC's Nicola Carslaw reports on Breakfast:

One reason why a third of people think they're allergic when they're probably not, according to the research, is because they assume they're allergic without even visiting the doctor. For example, they may have a headache which they blame on something they've eaten. However, the report finds that many doctors are not adequately equipped to diagnose and treat allergies anyway.

(To watch this report click on the video icon on the top right hand corner of this page)


We interviewed Raj Persaud, who's a consultant psychiatrist at the Maudsley Hospital.

He said:There is a general sense now of people being obsessed with their health. It's part of a general self-obsession which is probably more pronounced now than in the past. Ironically, one reason is because people have VERY LITTLE contact these days with really serious illness - and the healthier we all are the more worried we seem to be about our health. There's also much more information in the public domain about health - and this can lead to people's imaginations running wild. Allergies exist in a that grey area of chronic 'feeling slightly unwell' - it's not usually perceived as life-threatening and people will tend NOT to go to their GPs. But they do self-diagnose in such circumstances - this masquerades as self-empowerment.

(To watch this interview click on the video icon on the top right hand corner of this page)


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The BBC's Nicola Carslaw
on food allergies
Dr Raj Persaud
on why people think they may have allergies
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05 Nov 01 | Health
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