Imbalances in dietary consumption of fatty acids, vegetables, and fruits are associated with risk for Crohn's disease in children

Am J Gastroenterol. 2007 Sep;102(9):2016-25. doi: 10.1111/j.1572-0241.2007.01411.x. Epub 2007 Jul 7.


Background and objectives: The role of dietary factors in the etiology of Crohn's disease (CD) is inconsistent largely due to difficulties in acquiring valid information on consumption habits. We examined the impact of diet on new onset CD in children using a validated food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ).

Methodology: A case-control study was carried out. Children < or =20 yr, newly diagnosed with CD, were recruited from 3 pediatric gastroenterology clinics across Canada. Population or hospital controls were selected matched to cases for time of diagnosis (+/-6 months) and area of residence. Dietary consumption 1 yr prior to disease diagnosis was evaluated using a validated FFQ, administered within 1 month of diagnosis. Conditional logistic regression analysis adjusting for potential confounding variables (energy intake, age, gender, body mass index) was carried out.

Results: A total of 130 CD patients and 202 controls were studied. Mean age at diagnosis (+/-SD) was 14.2 (2.7). There were more male patients (59%). Comparing the highest to the lowest levels of consumption, higher amounts of vegetables (OR 0.69, 95% CI 0.33-1.44, P= 0.03), fruits (OR 0.49, 95% CI 0.25-0.96, P= 0.02), fish (OR 0.46, 95% CI 0.20-1.06, P= 0.02), and dietary fiber (OR 0.12, 95% CI 0.04-0.37, P < 0.001) protected from CD. Consumption of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (LCN-omega-3) was negatively associated with CD (OR 0.44, 95% CI 0.19-1.00, P < 0.001). A higher ratio of LCN-omega-3/omega-6 fatty acids was significantly associated with lower risks for CD (OR 0.32, 95% CI 0.14-0.71, P= 0.02).

Conclusions: Our findings indicate that an imbalance in consumption of fatty acids, vegetables, and fruits is associated with increased risks for CD among Canadian children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Crohn Disease / etiology*
  • Crohn Disease / prevention & control
  • Diet / adverse effects*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Fruit
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vegetables


  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids