I don't mean to pick on students. The odds are that if you were to throw a stone at a random person in the U.S. (kids, leave this to professionals) you would hit someone who knows little or nothing scientific about food and nutrition.
But students are captive audiences for researchers. And the University of Michigan Health System keeps publishing studies on students' lack of knowledge. I reported on one such survey almost a year ago in Studentz Ar Dumm.
And here we are in 2008 and Professor Matt Greenhawt has findings virtually identical to his previous report. From ScienceDaily.com.
Among college students, researchers found that only 50 percent of the students who identified themselves as having an allergy to a food said they always avoided the food.
About two-thirds could verify that somebody close to them on campus was aware that they were food-allergic. About 60 percent could verify that either a roommate, house mate or suite mate was aware of his or her food allergy.
The findings that cause the most concern, says Marc S. McMorris, M.D., is that only 43 percent who identified themselves as food-allergic could verify that they had in their possession an emergency medication to treat a reaction, and only about 20 percent had self-injectable epinephrine – the recommended treatment – available to treat a reaction.
Since most people with allergies learn about them when they are much younger than college age, and since almost half of those allergic to foods have had a reaction in school at younger than college age, you'd think that even college-age kids - a group traditionally casual when it comes to health issues - would have learned a lesson or two along the way. Admittedly, a group notoriously cavalier about the risks of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs may not be the group to tread carefully around pizza. But danger is danger, and deadly is deadly, and peer pressure may be less a threat to those avoiding foods than those avoiding beerfests.
At least carry an Epipen next to your condoms. Make your parents happy.