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Crohn's disease affects diet and growth in children

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Background: Thirteen (eight girls, five boys) patients, aged 9.8–15.4 years, and 13 controls matched for age and sex were studied to identify foods that might aggravate the symptoms of children with Crohn's disease, to examine the adequacy of nutrient intake and to assess nutritional status.

Methods: The link between symptoms and food intake was determined by 48‐h dietary recall on two separate occasions and by a dietary questionnaire. Nutritional status was assessed using growth charts and biochemical values.

Results: Patients with Crohn's disease identified several foods that aggravate symptoms. The intakes of bread, cereals and fat were greater in patients than in controls. The mean relative (% energy) intake of protein was lower, but the mean absolute intake of carbohydrates was higher in patients than in controls. The intakes of vitamin D, calcium, iron and zinc by the patients were below the respective recommended dietary allowances (RDAs). Nutritional status was good in the majority of the patients. However, the mean height‐for‐age was lower in the patients than in the controls, and 38% of the patients had serum albumin concentrations below the reference value.

Conclusions: Symptoms and foods that aggravate symptoms may restrict diet and thus decrease nutrient intake. The diet of children with Crohn's disease may contain insufficient amounts of nutrients. In some children, Crohn's disease markedly retards growth. These results substantiate the need for coordinated dietetic follow‐up.

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Clinical Nutrition, University of Kuopio, Kuopio 2: Medical School, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland

Publication date: 1998-08-01

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