The effect of gluten-free diet on body mass index in paediatric celiac disease

Adi Anafy, Shlomi Cohen*, Amir Ben Tov, Achiya Amir, Yael Weintraub, Hadar Moran-Lev, Margalit Dali Levy, Maayan Ankona Bussel, Anat Yerushalmy Feler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: More normal weight and overweight children are currently diagnosed with celiac disease (CD). We aimed to describe the relation between body mass index (BMI) and the clinical characteristics of paediatric CD and to determine the effect of a gluten-free diet (GFD) on BMI. Methods: Data on all children diagnosed with CD during 7/2010–7/2019 with documented anthropometric data at diagnosis were retrospectively analysed. The children were divided into three groups according to BMI status at diagnosis: underweight, normal weight and overweight (BMIs <5%, 5%–85% and >85%, respectively). Results: Of the 236 children [median age 7.87 (4.91–11) years] included in the study, 24 (10.1%) were underweight at diagnosis and 32 (13.6%) were overweight. Diarrhoea as the presenting symptom was significantly more common in the overweight group (p = 0.012), while short stature was more common in the underweight group (p = 0.002). Following a GFD had no significant effect on the children's BMI during a median follow-up of 15.7 (0–85) months, but there was a significant shift of patients between the BMI categories (p < 0.001). Conclusion: Although a shift of patients between the BMI categories was observed, following a GFD did not significantly affect the overall BMI in children with CD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2233-2239
Number of pages7
JournalActa Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • BMI
  • celiac
  • children
  • gluten-free diet


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