PURPOSE: To determine the dietary practices of the pediatric inflammatory bowel disease population at the Children's Hospital of the Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation and the reported effectiveness of those diets.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: A questionnaire mailed to 153 pediatric patients was returned by 125 patients (76 Crohn's disease [CD] and 49 ulcerative colitis [UC] patients) - an 82% response rate.
RESULTS: The median age of respondents was 13 years, and 62% were male. Ninety per cent and 71% of CD and UC patients, respectively, had changed their diets since diagnosis. Caloric supplements (eg, BOOST [Mead Johnson Nutritionals]), sole source nutrition, low fibre and lactose-free diets were used by more than 15% of CD patients, whereas lactose-free, nonspicy, low acid, additive-free, caloric supplement and low fibre diets were used by more than 15% of UC patients. A diet supplement was more commonly used in CD patients (P<0.05) and an additive-free diet in UC patients. Corn and corn products, nuts, milk and bran were avoided by more than 20% of CD and UC patients; however, more CD than UC patients avoided corn and corn products. In addition, UC patients (more than 20%) also avoided tomato, other dairy (nonfluid milk-based products and foods containing milk products), chocolate, cheese, wheat, tomato sauces and fruit juice. A benefit was reported for 103 of 141 reported diets, with the most commonly alleviated symptoms being abdominal pain, diarrhea and flatulence.
CONCLUSION: Many children with inflammatory bowel disease have altered their diets to manage their disease and have attributed symptomatic relief to these diets.