The Collateral Damage of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Children with IBD have more eating behavior problems than healthy children, study finds

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THURSDAY, Oct. 30, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Children with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have more, and more frequent, eating-behavior problems, like poor appetite and bad eating habits, than healthy children.

That's what a new study from researchers at the Columbus Children's Research Institute (CCRI) and Columbus Children's Hospital found.

They also found gender differences in weight and body image contribute to these eating-behavior problems.

"Proper nutrition is important for all children, including the approximately nine out of every 100,000 kids affected by IBD," Laura Mackner, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Ohio State University School of Medicine and Public Health, says in a prepared statement.

"Once we determined that problematic eating behaviors were more prevalent among children with IBD than healthy children, we went a step further to determine who is more at risk for eating problems among children with IBD," Mackner says.

"Our research showed that for boys with IBD, lower weight was associated with eating behavior problems, but body image was not. For girls, it was just the opposite issue -- poor body image was related, but weight was not."

The study included 50 children with IBD and 32 healthy children between the ages of 11 and 17. The children and their parents completed different questionnaires. Parents were asked to identify how often eating behavior problems occurred. Children rated their body image.

"Problematic eating behaviors have been studied among children with other diseases like cystic fibrosis and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Until this study, there were no data related to eating behavior problems and IBD. Learning more about the eating behavior problems is the first step toward interventions aimed at improving these problems," Mackner says.

The study was presented at a recent meeting of the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about inflammatory bowel disease.

SOURCE: Columbus Children's Hospital, news release, Oct. 21, 2003

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