Objective To evaluate impact of gluten free diet in children with celiac disease in different age groups on clinical profile and anthropometric measurements.
Design A prospective interventional study.
Methods Twenty five of the 32 children diagnosed as having celiac disease on the basis of positive anti-tissue transglutaminase IgA (tTG) and duodenal biopsy were included. Patients underwent a clinical examination and anthropometry measurements at diagnosis, 3 months and 6 months of strict gluten free diet.
Results There was a dramatic clinical improvement in symptomology in all cases on institution of gluten free diet at 6 months of follow up. Loose motions, abdominal pain, irritability disappeared in all patients except two children had anaemia (8%) and one child had abdominal distension (4%). Significant weight and height gain was noted in children after initiation of gluten free diet. The mean weight and height increased significantly after 3 and 6 months of gluten free diet (p < 0.0001). Also at 6 months of gluten free diet 86% of the children <5 years and 50% of the children between 5–10 years of age gained weight upto >80% of expected weight whereas none of the children >10 years of age reached that level. Similarly, all the children <5 years achieved normal height while only 33% of the other children attained normal height after 6 months of gluten free diet.
Conclusion Early diagnosis and institution of strict gluten free diet is required to gain maximum growth potential in children with celiac disease.