Objectives To explore how diagnosis of celiac disease (CD) in early adolescence affects overall food intake and healthiness of the diet in comparison with age- and sex matched controls and children with CD diagnosed in early childhood.
Methods This is a longitudinal dietary sub-study of a school-based CD-screening of 12-year-olds (ETICS - Exploring the Iceberg of Coeliacs in Sweden), a part of the PreventCD project. The dietary study was conducted in 2005-2008 and included the following groups resulting from the screening: I) screening-detected CD cases (n=80), II) previously diagnosed CD cases (n=28), and III) two samples of age- and sex matched non-CD children (admission, n=619; follow-up, n=447). All CD cases completed two food-frequency-and-amount-questionnaires (FFQ), covering the previous four weeks; one at admission and one at a follow-up 18-24 months later. The screening-detected CD cases completed the first FFQ before a gluten free diet was initiated. The non-CD children consisted of a cross-sectional sample at each time point, and thus only completed one FFQ each (i.e. either at admission or follow-up). The Goldberg cut-off method was used to validate reported energy intake. The food choices at admission and follow-up were compared among the three groups, and the healthiness of the diet evaluated using two Swedish dietary indexes.
Results and Conclusion Intakes of most food groups were similar at baseline. The adolescents diagnosed with CD did only minor changes in their overall food choices. Visible changes were reductions within food groups where gluten-free alternatives are not readily available, such as pastries and pizza. In contrast, total intake of bread and pasta did not change. All three groups scored fairly low on the dietary indexes at both time points, and there is an obvious need to improve the healthiness of the adolescent diet, whether CD is present or not.