Central Queenslanders to hear latest research on childhood food allergies

16 April 2024

Central Queenslanders can soon learn about managing childhood food allergies and the ground-breaking medical research uncovering potential new treatments, at a free public forum to be held in Rockhampton.

Internationally renowned QIMR Berghofer Immunologist Associate Professor Severine Navarro is joining forces with Central Queensland general practitioner Dr Joan Chamberlain and paediatric nutritionist Kate Willis for the Navigating Childhood Food Allergies event.

 Associate Professor Navarro said allergic diseases were among the fastest growing chronic conditions in the nation, with Australian children estimated to have the highest prevalence of food allergy in the world.

“Food is the very substance of life, so when caring for a child with food allergies, whether mild or severe, it can be incredibly challenging,” she said.

“There is constant vigilance and careful meal planning, endless hours assessing food labels and the dreaded role as the ‘fun police’ when your little one reaches for a slice of cake at a birthday party.

“We look forward to empowering parents and families to confidently manage food allergies and identify symptoms.”

Associate Professor Severine Navarro

The family-friendly event is aimed at anyone who would like practical guidance on childhood food allergy management and supporting those with complex dietary needs.

It will be held at the Walter Reid Cultural Centre Auditorium in Rockhampton from 10am to 11:30am on Sunday 28 April.

Associate Professor Navarro said allergy and immunology were fast-moving fields of medical research, and she looked forward to sharing the latest information on new emerging therapies.

“We will also explore everything from pollen-food reactions to cross reactivity, and the ways some allergies can evolve over time to become more severe and to involve other food groups,” she said.

“We will dispel a few allergy myths, look at how our lifestyles affect our gut health and risk of allergies, and recommend steps we can all take to improve our gut microbiome and allergic response.”

The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy predicts that by 2050, the number of people affected by allergic diseases in Australia will increase by 70 per cent to 7.7 million.

Associate Professor Navarro is Team Head of QIMR Berghofer’s Mucosal Immunology Laboratory, Director of Discovery for the Centre for Childhood Nutrition Research, and Executive Committee Member of the Queensland Immunology Research Network.

Paediatric nutritionist Kate Willis specialises in gut health, chronic digestive conditions, bowel disease, allergies, and paediatric constipation, while Dr Joan Chamberlain has special interests in family health and chronic illness.


Date Sunday 28 April
Time 10am to 11.30am
Where: Walter Reid Cultural Centre Auditorium, 
Cnr Bolsover & Derby Streets, Rockhampton
Register: Register for this free event 



Ann Rainbow
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