Dietary Therapy in Children May Increase Risk of Eating Disorders, Study Suggests

Dietary Therapy in Children May Increase Risk of Eating Disorders, Study Suggests
Researchers have found that dietary therapy in children with chronic illnesses, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), may increase their risk for unusual eating habits or eating disorders. The review study, “Are children with chronic illnesses requiring dietary therapy at risk for disordered eating or eating disorders? A systematic review," was published in the journal International Journal of Eating Disorders. Children with chronic illnesses may require a dietary regimen as part of their therapy, making disease-specific changes in diet to improve their health. The recommended dietary guidelines go beyond the normal indications for healthy people, addressing the issues of the chronic condition. For instance, particular dietary recommendations are suggested by the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation to reduce and control IBD symptoms. But compliance with a strict diet and exposure to parental overcontrol of feeding may raise the risk for eating disorders. Therefore, children with chronic diseases who require a strict dietary regimen may be at higher risk of disordered eating behaviors and eating disorders, which may result in serious medical consequences. A team of researchers analyzed data from a large number of previous research studies to understand if a diet treatment can lead to disordered eating in children with diabetes, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, gastrointestinal disorders, and IBD. They searched for several unusual eating behaviors (such as overly restrictive dieting and binge eating) and eating disorders including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge-eating, or avoidant restrictive food intake disorder. The data, from 86 studies that met the criteria, indicates that children with diabetes, CF, celiac, gastrointestinal
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