Adherence to the Gluten-free Diet and Health-related Quality of Life in an Ethnically Diverse Pediatric Population With Celiac Disease

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Celiac disease (CD) is an autoimmune disease that requires lifelong adherence to a gluten-free diet (GFD). Adherence to the GFD in childhood may be poor and adversely influence health-related quality of life (HRQOL). The study purpose was to determine sociodemographic and socioeconomic factors influencing adherence to the GFD and HRQOL in a multiethnic cohort of youth with CD.


A multisite (Edmonton, Hamilton, Toronto) study examining child-parent HRQOL in youth with CD (n = 243) and/or mild gastrointestinal complaints (GI-CON; n = 148) was conducted. Sociodemographic (age, child-parental age/education/ethnicity/place of birth), anthropometric (weight, height, body mass index), disease (diagnosis, age at diagnosis, duration, Marsh score, serology), household characteristics (income, family size, region, number of children/total household size), HRQOL (Peds TM4.0/KINDL and Celiac Disease DUX), GI Complaints (PedsQL: Gastrointestinal Symptom Scale) and gluten intake were measured.


Younger age (<10 years), non-Caucasian ethnicity (parent/child), and presence of GI symptoms were associated with the highest rates of adherence to the GFD in CD children (P < 0.05). CD children (parent/child) had higher HRQOL (average, composite domains) than GI-CON (P < 0.05), but CD children were comparable to healthy children. Lack of GI symptoms, non-Caucasian ethnicity and age (<10 years) were associated with increased HRQOL in composite/average domains for CD (P < 0.05).


Child-parent perceptions of HRQOL in a multiethnic population with CD are comparable to healthy reference populations, but significantly higher than in parent/child GI-CON. Adherence to the GFD in ethnically diverse youth with CD was related to GI symptoms, age of the child, and ethnicity of the parent-child.

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