Gluten-Free Camp Helpful for Children With Celiac Disease

Quality of life measures improve after short exposure to environment of unrestricted foods
By Rick Ansorge
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Feb. 15 (HealthDay News) -- For children and adolescents with celiac disease, attending a gluten-free camp may at least temporarily improve quality of life, according to a study published online Feb. 15 in Pediatrics.

Tasce R. Simon Bongiovanni, of the University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues administered a 14-question survey assessing general well-being, emotional outlook, and self-perception to 77 children aged 7 to 17 years -- 70 percent of whom had been on a gluten-free diet for fewer than four years -- at the beginning and the end of a week-long gluten-free camp.

Overall, the researchers found that campers reported improvements in 11 of 14 questions, and that the improvements in eight of the 11 questions were statistically significant. They also found that camp was most beneficial for children who had been on a gluten-free diet for less than four years, suggesting that children adapt to celiac disease over time.

"A gluten-free camp that provides an environment of unrestricted foods at least temporarily alleviates stress and anxiety around food, especially in regard to social interactions and self-perception," the authors conclude. "Durability of these observations on return to daily life requires additional study."

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