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Nutrition in inflammatory bowel disease.

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Department of Clinical Medicine, Trinity College Dublin Centre for Health Sciences, Adelaide and Meath Hospital, Tallaght, Dublin 24, Ireland.


Nutrition has an important role in the management of inflammatory bowel disease. This role includes the prevention and correction of malnutrition, the prevention of osteoporosis and in children the promotion of optimal growth and development. In active Crohn's disease nutritional therapy (in the form of enteral feeding) is an effective primary therapy for many patients. Corticosteroids, however, are more effective than enteral diet therapy in adults. Enteral diets should be considered as primary therapy in pediatric Crohn's disease, especially in children with poor nutritional status or growth impairment. Enteral nutrition does not have a proven primary therapeutic role in ulcerative colitis. There are many theories that suggest that diet may be implicated in the aetiology of inflammatory bowel disease, however, there are, as yet, no dietary approaches proven to reduce the risk of developing IBD.

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