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Nutritional knowledge, eating habits and quality of life of coeliac disease patients

Dawn Ainsworth (Faculty of Allied Health and Wellbeing, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK)
Jan Mei Soon (Faculty of Allied Health and Wellbeing, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 18 March 2022

Issue publication date: 2 January 2023

87

Abstract

Purpose

Coeliac disease (CD) is a lifelong autoimmune disorder and is managed with a strict gluten-free (GF) diet. At diagnosis, an individual's nutritional status is affected by how long CD has been active, their dietary intake, intestinal inflammation and degree of malabsorption. This study explores if age and time since diagnosis affect nutritional knowledge, eating habits and emotional wellbeing of participants.

Design/methodology/approach

An online survey using Qualtrics was conducted. The survey consists of 4 sections exploring (1) demographics, (2) nutritional knowledge, (3) eating habits and (4) quality of life (QoL). A total of 162 valid questionnaires were completed.

Findings

Those who'd been diagnosed for more than 5 years demonstrated better knowledge about GF or gluten containing products. Social interactions are limited by concerns about becoming ill, unwanted attention and increased financial costs. Eight-eight % of participants would go hungry at social events. Those aged between 40–59 and above 60 years felt more financially restricted compared to younger adults (χ2(4) = 10.73, p = 0.01). Strong emotions were experienced by participants since diagnosed with CD. Anxiety, feelings of concern, sadness, depression and fear have declined and happiness, confidence and being accepting of CD have increased since diagnosis across all years.

Originality/value

This study is one of the first few studies to investigate time since diagnosis and age-related differences in nutritional knowledge, eating habits and QoL of adults diagnosed with CD. Over time, negative emotions could potentially be alleviated with improved knowledge and experience.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge Coeliac UK and all participants for their participation and support.

Citation

Ainsworth, D. and Soon, J.M. (2023), "Nutritional knowledge, eating habits and quality of life of coeliac disease patients", British Food Journal, Vol. 125 No. 1, pp. 226-241. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-06-2021-0632

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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