The Gluten Free Diet: Assessing Adherence in a Pediatric Celiac Disease Population Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Abstract Background A strict, lifelong, gluten-free diet (GFD) remains the sole treatment for celiac disease (CD). The assessment of adherence to the GFD in pediatric studies is often based on self-report and visual analogue scales which lack proven validity. We sought to compare parental-report of GFD adherence to expert registered dietitian (RD) assessments, the best available standard. Methods Parents of children with biopsy-proven CD scored their adherence to the GFD on a five-point Likert scale similar to that used in previous pediatric CD studies. Each family was then evaluated by an RD expert in CD management who conducted a comprehensive and standardized assessment and scored the family’s adherence. The agreement between parents and the RD was assessed using paired t test and intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) based on their scores. Results One hundred twenty-two children and their families participated in the study, with a median of 32 months on a GFD. Excellent adherence (score 5 out of 5) was attributed to 60.5% of the sample by the RD. The parents scored adherence higher than the RD by an average difference of 0.41 scale points (95% CI, 0.28–0.54; P < 0.001). The agreement between parents and the registered dietitian was poor (ICC = 0.21). Conclusion Reliance on self-report through Likert scales for GFD adherence overestimates adherence and misses opportunities for patient and family education. Approximately 40% of children with CD have ongoing gluten exposure, highlighting the need for regular assessment by an RD expert in the GFD to identify education and counselling needs for children with CD.

authors

  • Dowhaniuk, Jenna
  • Mileski, Heather
  • Saab, Joanne
  • Tutelman, Perri
  • Thabane, Lehana
  • Brill, Herbert

publication date

  • April 18, 2020