Samantha Cyrkot | ALES Graduate Seminar

Date(s) - 01/09/2021
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

A graduate exam seminar is a presentation of the student’s final research project for their degree.
This is an ALES MSc Final Exam Seminar by Samantha Cyrkot. This seminar is open to the general public to attend.

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Meeting ID: 919 9729 4781

Thesis Topic: Development and Evaluation of a Gluten-Free Food Guide for Children and Youth

MSc with Dr. Diana Mager

Seminar Abstract:

Background: Celiac disease (CD) is an autoimmune disease that results in damage to the small intestine when gluten is consumed. The only treatment is a gluten-free (GF) diet. However, this diet can be higher in saturated fat, added sugar and lower in micronutrients such as folate. Currently, no comprehensive pediatric guidelines exist that address the nutritional limitations of the GF diet. The purpose of this thesis was to describe the development and evaluation of a GF food guide for children and youth (4-18 years) and to describe potential factors (e.g. food literacy, home food environment) that may influence guide uptake by children/youth with CD, their parents and health professionals.

 Methods: Guide development included a comprehensive evaluation of dietary intake and patterns in children/youth with CD, the development of GF diet simulations (n=1260) and pre-and-post guide stakeholder consultations (n=887) with members of the community (children/youth with CD, their parents) and health professionals using focus group and survey methodology. Factors that may influence guide uptake were assessed in 16 households of youth with CD using validated surveys, dietary recalls and food receipt methodology.

 Results: The pediatric GF plate model was developed based on diet simulations that met 100% of macronutrient and micronutrient needs for age-sex with the exception of vitamin D. The GF plate model recommends intake of >50% fruits and vegetables, <25% grains and 25% protein foods. There is an emphasis on plant-based food sources and the recommended beverage of choice is unsweetened fluid milk or a plant-based alternative fortified with calcium and vitamin D. Post-guide stakeholders (n=353) positively perceived the guide for content, layout, ethnicity, feasibility and usability. Youth with CD (n=16) living in households of higher socioeconomic status with parental food literacy and diverse at-home food availability, reported a dietary intake of 17% fruits and vegetables and 17% protein foods. This intake was below guide recommendations with nutrient-poor GF foods (e.g. snacks) taking up >1/3 of the plate.

Conclusions: A GF food guide for children and youth that addresses the unique nutritional needs of CD was developed and evaluated for content, layout, feasibility and dissemination strategies by end-stakeholder users in the community (children/youth with CD, their parents and health professionals).