Perceptions, beliefs and behaviors of nutritional and supplementary practices in inflammatory bowel disease
Purpose: To gain insight into the behaviors, perceptions and beliefs of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients nutritional and supplementary practices and also to explore perceptions and behaviors in relation to anti-inflammatory supplementation with specific emphasis on Montmorency tart cherries. Methods: 80 IBD patients completed a 16-item close-ended questionnaire which was divided into three sub-sections: baseline/demographic characteristics, disease characteristics and dietary and supplementary perceptions, beliefs and behaviors. One-sample chi-square goodness of fit tests were used for each question and two-way Pearson chi-square tests of independence were used to undertake bivariate cross-tabulation comparisons to test differences in responses to each question between baseline/demographic variables. Results: The majority of participants (N = 40) did not follow a specific dietary pattern or use supplements (N = 56). Respondents also predominantly rated that diet can both positively (N = 66) and negatively (N = 68) influence IBD. In addition, participants rated that supplements can positively influence IBD (N = 65) and that lack of scientific evidence was the primary mechanism preventing them from utilizing supplements (N = 34). Finally, patients also strongly reported that they would be willing to take Montmorency tart cherry supplementation (N = 73). Conclusions: The disconnect between behavior and beliefs in both diet and supplementary practices, indicate that interventions designed to translate beliefs/knowledge into behaviors are warranted. There is also a necessity to undertake well-designed intervention trials examining the efficacy of food supplements, and with patient’s willingness to take Montmorency tart cherry, there is a strong rationale for future randomized trials examining the efficacy of tart cherry supplementation in IBD.