Celiac.com 12/11/2015 - There's an idea, common among lay and medical people alike, that kids with celiac disease are skinny, and that overweight or fat kids can't have celiac disease.

Photo: CC--GaulsstinA new study shows puts this idea to rest, and shows that celiac disease can in fact develop in kids who are overweight or obese. The study was conducted by a team of researchers including T Capriati, R Francavilla, F Ferretti, S Castellaneta, M Ancinelli and A Diamanti.

Their study describes the nutritional status of a group of 445 children with celiac disease at presentation, and during follow-up on gluten-free diet. The children, all with biopsy-confirmed celiac disease, were prospectively enrolled at one of two Italian centers (Rome and Bari), and diagnosed between 2009 and 2013.

Researchers used Body Mass Index as a measure of nutritional status according to Italian growth charts of Cacciari.

Overall, males were far more likely than females to be overweight/obese. Furthermore, overweight/obesity children as compared with those with normal weight were significantly older and had significantly lower levels of tTG antibodies.

This study shows that some celiac disease children are obese/overweight at diagnosis. So, even though it's more common for kids with celiac disease to be normal weight, doctors shouldn't rule out celiac disease in kids just because they're overweight or obese. In fact, celiac diagnosis is often missed in kids who are overweight.

The takeaway from this study is that overweight kids can have celiac disease, and that celiac diagnosis must be considered even in overweight/obese children where this diagnosis can be easily missed.


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