Crohns disease (CD) is a life-long inflammatory process affecting any segment of the gastrointestinal tract. This condition most often presents in childhood and adolescence and almost universally impacts adversely upon the nutritional state of the patient. Weight loss is a common presenting feature and potential long-term adverse outcomes include malnutrition, anaemia, osteopaenia and impaired linear growth. Understanding the nutritional aspects of this disease is especially important in growing children and adolescents entering and advancing through puberty. In addition, a nutritional approach to the management of CD is now well established as a valid and effective treatment to induce and maintain disease remission. The mechanisms of this therapy are beginning to be defined, and include direct antiinflammatory effects and alteration of intestinal microflora. This review focuses upon the role of nutritional therapy in the management of CD in children and adolescents in the context of a comprehensive nutritional approach to managing individuals with this chronic condition.
Keywords: Nutrition, exclusive enteral nutrition, children, Crohn's disease, inflammatory bowel disease
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