DOI: 10.3390/nu16060817 ISSN: 2072-6643

Prevalence of Rome IV Pediatric Diagnostic Questionnaire-Assessed Disorder of Gut–Brain Interaction, Psychopathological Comorbidities and Consumption of Ultra-Processed Food in Pediatric Anorexia Nervosa

Sara Rurgo, Maria Rosaria Marchili, Giulia Spina, Marco Roversi, Flavia Cirillo, Umberto Raucci, Giovanni Sarnelli, Massimiliano Raponi, Alberto Villani
  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a severe eating disorder primarily affecting children and adolescents. Disorders of the gut–brain interaction (DGBIs) have gained recognition as significant symptoms in individuals with AN. However, limited studies have explored GI symptoms in pediatric populations with AN using age-specific diagnostic tools. This study aims to investigate the prevalence of DGBIs, their associated psychopathological aspects and their potential correlations with ultra-processed food (UPF) consumption among pediatric AN patients. The study included AN patients who were under the care of a specialized multidisciplinary team. We assessed DGBI-related symptoms using the Rome IV Pediatric Diagnostic Questionnaire on Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (R4PDQ) and conducted psychological evaluations. Dietary intake and UPF consumption were evaluated. Among 56 AN patients, we observed a lower prevalence of DGBIs (functional constipation: 61%; functional dyspepsia: 54%; irritable bowel syndrome: 25%) compared to the existing literature. The psychological assessments revealed high rates of depression (72%) and anxiety (70%). UPF consumption was inversely related to depression levels (p = 0.01) but positively correlated with functional constipation (p = 0.046). This study highlights the importance of using age-specific diagnostic tools and emphasizes the crucial role of a specialized multidisciplinary team in the treatment of AN.

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