Adolescents are not known for making nutritious food selections. And while most youths’ bodies can withstand some nutritional imbalance, diet becomes a more challenging issue for youth with inflammatory bowel disease. For those with Crohn’s Disease, a subset of IBD, seemingly innocuous foods like lettuce, blueberries, milk or corn can cause bouts of intense abdominal pain and diarrhea. Problems with food absorption caused by inflammation of the intestines may result in stunted growth, and treatment can be as invasive as a feeding tube.
For youth with IBD, understanding what nutrition they need to protect their health and well-being is a serious matter. Providers at the Oklahoma University Medical Center have found a way to deliver this important information to youth in a fun way. They’ve created a mobile app game that can be played while adolescents wait to see their doctor.
As part of our education program we were trying to think how we could find a way to find out what kids knew about general nutrition, as well as things that might be more specific to their inflammatory bowel disease,” said Dr. John Grunow, pediatric gastroenterologist Oklahoma University Medical Center and inventor of the app. The idea was that the kids would play it in the waiting room while they’re waiting to be called back and weighed in.