The Impact of Early Diet on IBD Risk in Children

. .IBD

Although both are successful, prevention is much easier than recovery for IBD or Inflammatory Bowel Disease.  So as we recover the guts of at-risk kids with autism, severe allergies, mental health, and more, an interesting study has surfaced. This study may offer more evidence of the impact of our diet starting at age 1 with solid foods.

Study Parameters

Two Scandinavian birth cohorts shed light on the effects of early dietary habits and the risk of developing IBD in children. Over 81,000 participants with 307 cases of IBD diagnoses during the study period. Dietary intake was evaluated through questionnaires at ages 12-18 months and 30-36 months. An assessment of diet quality used a modified Healthy Eating Index. This evaluated the intake of specific food groups like fish, fruit, meat, vegetables, and sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs).


The findings revealed that children with high diet quality at age 1 had a lower risk of IBD compared to those with lower diet quality. A diet rich in fish and vegetables at age 1 is associated with a reduced risk of IBD, while intake of SSBs is linked to an increased risk. Interestingly, at age 3, only high fish intake is correlated with a lower risk of IBD, specifically ulcerative colitis. These results suggest that early dietary habits, including a diet high in fish and vegetables, are crucial in reducing the risk of developing IBD in children. The study also highlights the potential benefits of a Mediterranean-style diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, and fish, in lowering the risk of IBD development later in life.

How Does IBD Impact Me or My Child?

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) describes disorders involving chronic digestive tract inflammation. The two main conditions are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Common symptoms are abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, and, in severe cases, complications like intestinal strictures or fistulas.
IBD can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. There is physical discomfort, emotional distress, and potential disruptions in daily activities. Treatment for IBD can include lifestyle changes, medication, and, in some serious cases, surgery to relieve inflammation within the digestive tract.

In conclusion, making the switch from juices, chips, goldfish crackers, cookies, and other processed foods to healthier alternatives like oranges, apples, organic cheese, filtered water, and other real, unmodified foods can have a significant impact on reducing stomach problems for children and setting them up for a healthier life ahead. Here are some more easy tips to choose healthier.

By opting for nutrient-dense, whole foods, we provide our children with the essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber their bodies need to thrive. This shift supports their digestive health and contributes to their overall well-being, helping prevent many health issues later in life. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a term encompassing chronic inflammation of the digestive tract, with life-changing effects but investing in a child’s diet by nourishing them with wholesome foods sets the foundation for a lifetime of good health and vitality.



Guo A, Ludvigsson J, Brantsæter AL, et al. Early-life diet and risk of inflammatory bowel disease: a pooled study in two Scandinavian birth cohorts. Gut. Published online January 30, 2024. doi:10.1136/gutjnl-2023-330971

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