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