New Study from Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America Uncovers Gaps in Knowledge regarding Nutrition in IBD

Tuesday, September 6, 2016 Research News
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Study results published in the IBD Journal highlight the need for nutrition education and resources for IBD patients and health care providers

NEW YORK, Sept. 6, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Patients living with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) may be at greater

risk for malnourishment. Some studies have shown that as many as 80 percent of all Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis patients may be malnourished as a result of chronic intestinal inflammation, disease symptoms, medication usage, or other factors. A new study from the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) published in the IBD Journal found that there are significant knowledge gaps in nutritional care for IBD patients. The complete study, "Knowledge, Attitudes, and Beliefs Regarding the Role of Nutrition in IBD among Patients and Providers," which was led by Dr. Andrew Tinsley of Penn State Medical Center, is available online here:

"Malnutrition is common in IBD patients yet little is known about best practices for nutritional assessment and management in IBD care," said Dr. Caroline Hwang, gastroenterologist at the University of Southern California's Digestive Health Center and CCFA's nutrition project lead. "To better understand the role nutrition plays in IBD management, we set out to evaluate knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs regarding nutrition among IBD patients and care providers."

The study analyzed survey responses from 223 providers (gastroenterologists, nurses and nurse practitioners, and registered dietitians) and 567 patients; and learnings from focus groups of patients and providers conducted in New York, Chicago, and Seattle. Specifically, the results highlighted:

  • More than half of patients (58.5 percent) felt that nutrition was "very important" as an IBD management strategy, however only 36 percent of patients reported routinely talking with any healthcare provider about nutrition.
  • Only 16 percent of nurses and nurse practitioners believed that they had "very good" knowledge of IBD-related nutrition as compared to 41 percent of gastroenterologists and 86 percent of registered dietitians.
  • Less than half of all providers felt that they had access to adequate nutritional care resources to help initiate and guide discussions with their IBD patients.
  • Providers admitted that they do not screen for malnutrition frequently, and therefore, possibly miss opportunities to intervene early in malnourished IBD patients.

The study recommends that targeted educational initiatives and care resources be developed; nutrition specialists be integrated into the multidisciplinary IBD care team; and access and affordability to qualified nutrition services be improved.

In response to the study, CCFA is launching a Healthy Nourishment in IBD Program that will work within the framework of CCFA's innovative IBD Qorus™ (a quality of care initiative). IBD Qorus is a groundbreaking collaboration between patients and their healthcare providers that will lead to enhanced patient health outcomes for those living with IBD. It is developing a Nutritional Care Pathway which:

  • Provides healthcare providers a set of validated tools to identify and assess patients who are malnourished or at risk of malnourishment; and
  • Provides educational tools for providers, dietitians and patients to prevent and treat malnutrition and its related complications.

"The learnings from this study reinforce the importance of creating programs around nutrition to optimize the quality of life and outcomes of patients with IBD," said Alandra Weaver, Director of IBD Qorus.

About the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of AmericaThe Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) is the largest non-profit, voluntary, health organization dedicated to finding cures for inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). CCFA's mission is to cure Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults who suffer from these diseases. The Foundation works to fulfill its mission by funding research; providing educational resources for patients and their families, medical professionals, and the public; and furnishing supportive services for those afflicted with IBD. For more information visit, call 888-694-8872, or email


To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:

SOURCE Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America

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