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Am J Gastroenterol. 1997 Aug;92(8):1331-4.

Bone mineralization and body composition in young patients with celiac disease.

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Pediatric Clinic University of Pavia, 2nd Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, Italy.



The aim of the study was to establish whether body composition in patients with celiac disease is normal and influenced by the age at diagnosis or by the duration of the gluten free diet.


A group of 66 children with celiac disease and 76 healthy controls were studied by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry. We compared celiac patients with the control group, and within the celiac disease group, we compared patients with different age at diagnosis (28 diagnosed in the first 24 months vs 38 later) and with different duration of the diet (16 in gluten free diet for less than 12 months, 11 for less than 24 months, and 39 for more than 24 months).


Overall we did not find any significant difference in body composition between overall celiac patients and controls. However the fat mass, the body mass index, and the spine bone mineral density values in late diagnosed celiac patients were significantly lower than in early diagnosed patients (significance values were p < 0.009; p < 0.002; p < 0.002, respectively). Patients on diet for less than 12 months showed significantly lower bone mineral content and density than those on diet for more than 24 months (significance values were, respectively, p < 0.011 and p < 0.022). Spine mineral density was the only parameter significantly influenced both by age at diagnosis (p < 0.03) and duration of gluten free diet (p < 0.008).


Only an early diagnosis of celiac disease in pediatric age and a strict gluten free diet, lasting more than 12 months, allow celiac patients to reach a normal mineralization.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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