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Dietary compliance and life style of children with coeliac disease

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Abstract Background: 

Coeliac disease (CD) is common and requires a permanent strict gluten-free diet (GFD). However, data concerning how the situation is experienced by children are limited. The present study aimed to investigate the compliance with a GFD and the impact of CD and GFD on the lifestyle of patients and their families, together with proposed recommendations for improvement of quality of life. Methods: 

Children with biopsy confirmed CD were recruited consecutively from the outpatient gastroenterology clinic. Participants were evaluated by a special questionnaire for compliance with the GFD, patients’ knowledge about CD, and the well-being and lifestyle of children and their families. Comparisons between discrete variables were performed by a chi-square test. Results: 

Seventy-three children of median age 9.4 (interquartile range = 5–14.5) years were evaluated. Compliance to diet was reported by 58%. Reasons for noncompliance were: poor palatability (32%), dining outside home (17%), poor availability of products (11%), and asymptomatic disease diagnosed by screening (11%). The acceptance of the GFD was reported as good in 65%, whereas avoidance of travelling and restaurants was stated by 17% and 46% of families, respectively. Most families experienced difficulties detecting gluten from the food label. Proposed factors for improvement of quality of life were: better labelling of gluten-containing ingredients (76%) and more gluten-free (GF) foods in supermarkets (58%) and restaurants (42%). Conclusions: 

Children with CD have low compliance with the GFD. Better education about the disease, the availability of GF products, and appropriate food labelling could improve compliance and quality of life.

Keywords: children; coeliac disease; compliance; gluten-free diet; life style

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: First Department of Pediatrics, Gastroenterology Unit, Athens University, Aghia Sophia Children’s Hospital, Athens, Greece 2: Clinical Dietetics Department, Aghia Sophia Children’s Hospital, Athens, Greece

Publication date: April 1, 2010

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