KIDS AND THE GLUTEN-FREE DIET
The gluten-free diet presents unique challenges for children with celiac disease and their families. Prior to diagnosis, children may be quite ill, suffering from poor growth and developmental delay. Upon accurate diagnosis and treatment, children usually improve quickly; however despite rapid improvement of symptoms, compliance with diet may be less than optimal, putting the child once again at risk for the complications of untreated celiac disease. Because children may feel uncomfortable being singled out as “different,” a diet that calls attention to their condition, and thus their differences, presents a unique challenge to parents and caregivers trying to meet the treatment guidelines. Frequent follow-up and monitoring, along with educational resources and support groups can aid families in maintaining a gluten-free diet and provide creative ways to deal with the challenges inherent in a gluten-free lifestyle.
© 2007 Practical Gastroenterology
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