Scientific study: predictors of compliance with a gluten-free diet in adolescents and young adults
Scientists studied 204 teenage patients living with celiac disease in southern Italy. The study examined a variety of clinical and blood chemistry tests; the patients were interviewed about school performance, social relationships, family integration, smoking habits and compliance with a gluten-free diet.
- Study results found that 73.5% of the teenagers reported complete compliance with their gluten-free diets, while 26.5% reported occasional or frequent non-compliance.
- Among those who were compliant with their diets over the last month, 74% were asymptomatic while 57.4% of non-compliant patients were asymptomatic.
- Additionally, the diet did not appear to have an impact on family relationships: 88.7% reported good family relationships.
- However, as many as 54% of patients reported some limitations in their social lives.
- The authors concluded, “Optimal school integration significantly contributes to the likelihood of good compliance. A better understanding within the school environment about CD-related issues could improve motivation to adhere to a gluten-free diet.”
Teenage celiac disease patients who feel limited in their social expression, and particularly as it relates to poor school integration, may be less likely to comply with a gluten-free diet. Better communication between doctors, caregivers and school officials, as part of a patient-tailored intervention, may lead to increased compliance with a gluten-free diet.
Errichiello S, et al. Celiac Disease: Predictors of Compliance With a Gluten-free Diet in Adolescents and Young Adults. J Ped Gastroenterol Nutr, 2010; 50:54–60. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19644397