Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients may hold dietary beliefs that motivate restricted eating habits. For a study, researchers sought to assess restrictive behaviors and dietary attitudes in young IBD patients and their parents.

Patients with IBD between the ages of 8 and 17 and their parents were given a questionnaire about dietary views. In addition, patients with IBD and a peer control group were given a Food Frequency Questionnaire.

In the study, 105 parents and 75 patients underwent interviews. Thirty-seven patients (36%) and 39 parents (37.1%) thought dietary changes might affect the course of IBD. About 25 (33%) patients and 33 (33%) parents felt that some dietary elements help prevent relapse or alleviate symptoms (mostly abdominal pain and diarrhea), whereas 36 (48%) patients and 60 (60.0%) parents believed that some foods could cause or exacerbate symptoms during an IBD flare. Patients believed that while fruits, vegetables, and rice may favor IBD, milk, dairy, fried and spicy meals, sweets, and carbonated beverages may have a harmful impact. Fruits and vegetables, in the eyes of parents, were harmful. Patients categorized based on their IBD phenotype, activity level, or existing medications did not respond differently. Young patients with IBD consumed less milk, lunch meat, raw vegetables, and cooked vegetables daily than the controls.

A third of parents and children with IBD have dietary attitudes that result in restricted eating habits.