Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance at Southern New Hampshire University

Thomas, Michaela
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Southern New Hampshire University
This in-progress research explores Southern New Hampshire University students’ awareness of celiac disease and gluten intolerance, and aims to determine the percentage of the Southern New Hampshire University student body affected by these conditions. I first provide context for my research by defining gluten and describing the foods in which it is found. I then define the condition of gluten intolerance (or sensitivity) and compare and contrast it with the characteristics and symptoms of celiac disease. I document my own experiences with gluten intolerance and provide statistical information about the prevalence of celiac disease and gluten intolerance worldwide, within the United States, and among Southern New Hampshire University students. I also report statistics regarding the demographic of most commonly afflicted persons and explore the hypothesized reasons for the affliction of this demographic in particular. Additionally, I consider different arguments for the recent increase in reported celiac diagnoses. The methods used for this paper include the collection of primary and secondary data from empirical studies in medical journals, news articles, student surveys and individual student interviews. The survey sample data collected will be used to make conclusive statements about the prevalence and level of awareness that Southern New Hampshire University students exhibit of these conditions through quantitative techniques such as summary statistics and confidence intervals. The interviews will be used for qualitative comparison to my experience of a gluten intolerant life. These results will drive my conclusions about potential steps to be taken by decision makers regarding dining options to accommodate the increasing numbers of individuals on campus with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. (Author abstract)