Energy intakes of children with Crohn's disease treated with enteral nutrition as primary therapy

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Abstract Background 

Enteral nutrition (EN) is widely used and is effective in the treatment of children with Crohn's disease given as an exclusive feed for 6–8 weeks. Current dietetic practice during EN is to recommend an energy intake based on estimated average requirement (EAR) for energy for age [Department of Health (1991) Report on Health and Social Subjects No. 41. Dietary Reference Values for Food Energy and Nutrients for the United Kingdom. London: HMSO]. Aims 

To examine factors affecting energy intake and weight gain during EN in relation to disease site and nutritional status. Methods 

A retrospective cohort study examining energy intake and weight gain during the exclusive EN feeding period in 40 patients newly diagnosed with Crohn's in relation to EAR, nutritional status, disease site. Results 

All patients improved clinically and gained weight during EN with improvement in the CRP as a marker of the systemic inflammatory response. Energy intake was higher than EAR in 82% (33/40 patients), with the median 117.5% of EAR. Weight gain correlated with body mass index standard deviation score (P = 0.001) at start of treatment, but not energy intake or CRP. Conclusion 

Estimated average requirement underestimates energy intakes in most children with newly diagnosed Crohn's disease. During EN, an energy intake in the range of 100–149% (median 117.5%) EAR for energy for age may be required. Energy balance studies in children with active disease are required.

Keywords: Crohn's disease; child; nutrition; treatment

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, UK 2: Paediatric Medical Unit, Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, UK

Publication date: October 1, 2005

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