Assessment of dietary compliance to gluten free diet and psychosocial problems in Indian children with celiac disease

Indian J Pediatr. 2010 Jun;77(6):649-54. doi: 10.1007/s12098-010-0092-3. Epub 2010 Jun 8.


Objective: To assess dietary compliance to Gluten Free Diet (GFD), to identify barriers to compliance and to study the impact of diet on the psychosocial behavior of children with celiac disease.

Methods: Children diagnosed with celiac disease and followed up for more than 6 months, were assessed for dietary compliance. After this assessment, patients were subjected to an interview, consisting of self administered questionnaire, by the investigator who was blinded to initial results of initial assessment. Psychosocial parameters were assessed by standard Pediatric Symptom Checklist (PSC) containing 35 items. Dietary compliant and non-compliant groups were compared for assessed factors affecting the dietary compliance. Cases were also compared to healthy controls for psychosocial parameters.

Results: A total of 70 patients were assessed for dietary compliance: 53(75%) were found to be dietary compliant, 13(18%) dietary non-compliant while 4 had doubtful dietary compliance. Final analysis was done for 64 patients who had complete assessment; 4 patients with doubtful dietary compliance and 2 patients who had incomplete assessment, were excluded. Dietary compliance was higher in younger children (>80%) compared to adolescents (44%); in children with higher maternal education; in parents having better knowledge and understanding of disease. Compliance was better in nuclear families; with less number of siblings (68.3% of compliant had <2 siblings compared to 23% in non-compliant); in families with higher per capita income. Dietary compliance was also better in children who presented with typical symptoms of celiac disease (72% of dietary compliant presented with loose motion as presenting symptom compared to only 15% in non-compliant). Celiac children had problems related to adjustment such as difficulty in maintaining diet at school, restaurants, trips, etc.45% patients complained that their teachers don't understand the nature of their disease. Pediatric Symptom Checklist (PSC) score was above cut-off in 4 children of dietary non-compliant group. Few individual PSC items such as complaints of aches and pains; is irritable, angry; does not listen to the rules, blames other for mistakes; teases others; refuses to share, were more common in celiac children than control.

Conclusions: Noncompliance to gluten free dietary regimen is seen in 18 % of cases. Dietary noncompliance is more common in the adolescent age group, in joint families and those who have more number of siblings. Dietary restrictions have impact on child's social activities and thus psychosocial parameters (PSC score) are better in the dietary compliant group.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Celiac Disease / diagnosis
  • Celiac Disease / diet therapy*
  • Celiac Disease / psychology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diet, Gluten-Free*
  • Humans
  • India
  • Patient Compliance / psychology*
  • Poverty
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires