Exclusive enteral nutrition in children and adolescents with Crohn disease: Dietitian perspectives and practice

J Paediatr Child Health. 2021 Mar;57(3):359-364. doi: 10.1111/jpc.15220. Epub 2020 Oct 4.

Deirdre Burgess 1, Kim Herbison 2, Julia Fox 3, Tanya Collins 4, Emma Landorf 5, Peter Howley 6


Author information

  • 1Department of Paediatric Gastroenterology, John Hunter Children's Hospital, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia.
  • 2Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Starship Children's Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand.
  • 3Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Queensland Children's Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
  • 4Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Perth Children's Hospital, Perth, Western Australia, Australia.
  • 5Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Womens and Children's Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.
  • 6School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences/Statistics, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia.


Aim: In newly diagnosed paediatric Crohn disease, exclusive enteral nutrition (EEN) is recommended as a first-line treatment for remission induction. However, EEN protocols vary internationally. The development of best practice protocols may make it easier to make definitive conclusions about optimal EEN therapy, and may improve patient outcomes. This study aims to determine the variations in current dietitian EEN practice within Australia and New Zealand (NZ) to inform a common EEN protocol in the future, and to gather perspectives on the need for nutrition resources for patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Methods: A questionnaire was created and emailed to paediatric dietitians working with gastroenterologists in public and private paediatric centres in Australia and NZ. Respondents were invited to provide details of their perspectives of EEN therapy and protocol details.

Results: Eighteen paediatric dietitians responded to the questionnaire, 10 from Australia and 8 from NZ. There was clear consensus between respondents on the duration of EEN being 6 and 8 weeks, the need for close dietitian supervision while on EEN, and the method of food reintroduction. There was lack of consensus between dietitians regarding permitted concomitant foods whilst on EEN. This study also determined a potential benchmarking relationship between IBD dietitian hours and numbers of patients on EEN per year in a centre.

Conclusions: Paediatric dietitians in Australia and NZ are mostly aligned in their practice of EEN. Development of a standard EEN protocol, and patient IBD resources, will further align practice and allow for greater research possibilities.

© Copyright 2013-2021 GI Health Foundation. All rights reserved.
This site is maintained as an educational resource for US healthcare providers only. Use of this website is governed by the GIHF terms of use and privacy statement.