Dietary Habits and Abdominal Pain-related Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: A School-based, Cross-sectional Analysis in Greek Children and Adolescents

J Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2019 Jan 31;25(1):113-122. doi: 10.5056/jnm17113.


Background/aims: The abdominal pain-related functional gastrointestinal disorders (AP-FGIDs) affect a significant proportion of the pediatric population and consist 1 of the most frequent causes for seeking medical advice. In this study, we aimed to assess the relation of dietary habits with the likelihood of AP-FGIDs.

Methods: This was a school-based, cross-sectional study approved by the Greek Government authorities, after obtaining informed consent by the legal representatives of the children. Diagnoses of AP-FGIDs were based on the Greek official translation of the Rome III questionnaire. Demographic, socioeconomic and dietary data were collected through self-reporting or parent-reporting questionnaires. Associations between the probability of AP-FGIDs and dietary practices were assessed after adjusting for known confounders through a multiple logistic regression analysis.

Results: A total of 1365 children (147 AP-FGIDs and 1218 controls, 52.4% females, mean age: 12.8 ± 2.8 years) were included. Multiple regression analysis identified the following statistically significant confounders: victimization, the presence of a person with a severe health problem at home, female sex, engaging in limited physical exercise, and living in a single adult family. Subsequently, logistic regression, adjusted for the abovementioned confounders, showed that reduced fish and increased junk food consumption were related to a higher likelihood of AP-FGIDs.

Conclusions: Children with AP-FGIDs report excessive junk-food and reduced fish intake compared to controls. Further studies are needed in order to clarify the nature of this observation.

Keywords: Children; Feeding behavior; Gastrointestinal diseases.