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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is the recommended diet for children with Crohn's disease?

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  • Prof Andrew Day


    Paediatric Gastroenterologist View Profile

    Many children with Crohn disease have disruption to their normal patterns of growing: almost all have weight loss or poor weight gains at diagnosis. Some have poor height gains at diagnosis. And many will have problems growing (weight and/or height) in the period after diagnosis.

    Growth is one of the key events in children and adolescents. Anything that interferes with these normal processes can have profound effects.

    Consequent to these issues, diet and nutrition are key elements of managing children with Crohn disease. Generally, in terms of overall diet, the critical aspects are ensuring a good well-balanced diet, to ensure  a good range of  food types, and of vitamins/minerals. Some children may have problems tolerating particular foods and may need to avoid these. Diary products are an example - some people can have problems with these when Crohn disease is active  and may need to avoid or have less.

    Whenever diet is restricted in children, it can compromise the quality of intake, which can impact upon growth. Hence, it is important for children with Crohn disease to have a formal dietetic review after diagnosis and then subsequently at regular intervals. If diet restrictions are required, supplementation or alternative items may be needed.

    Many children need additional supplements or support - this can mean having high calorie foods as snacks, it can mean having extra liquid supplements.

    Some people with Crohn disease find that dietary changes (such as to a more liquid diet and using simpler types of foods) can help when they have a flare of disease.

  • Leading Melbourne Accredited Practising Dietitian -Mark Surdut APD AN. Mark runs a practise in North Caulfield with expertise in Medical Nutrition Therapy. Mark has a … View Profile

    ..Yes, and to continue from where Andrew left off..
     I frequently suggest easing the function of digestion, by keeping foods softer (of course when things flare up), but even when the tummy is doing well, I argue that limiting hard-to-digest-food (some refer to as ‘roughage’) while STILL maintaining a nice amount of SOFT FIBRE is one way forward. Sultanas, muesli bars, seed bars, corn, tough skins on fruits, tough meats and so on - can all be limited.
     The more fish the better - easy to digest, and the essential oils found in fish may even help provide some natural anti-inflammatory action, although of course not as powerful as the medicine equivalent.
    That's a start

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