A really cool study came out this week that looks at how sending your celiac child to gluten-free camp may do more good than we ever knew!
Research by the University of California, San Francisco surveyed 104 children at the beginning of their gluten-free camp experience and then again at the end. The study, published in WebMD, Monday said,
“‘All seemed to benefit from camp, no longer feeling different from other kids or feeling frustrated with a restricted diet,’ the researchers write. ‘Improvement was observed in each of the three categories of questions: well-being, self-perception and emotional outlook.'”
Most of the benefit happened for children who had been on the gluten-free diet less than 4 years. In part because people who had been dealing with the diet longer already had a more positive perception of the gluten-free lifestyle.
“‘A gluten-free camp that provides an environment of unrestricted foods can at least temporarily alleviate stress and anxiety around food and social interactions,’ the researchers write… ‘Celiac camp enables children with [celiac disease] to enjoy the camp experience freely without concern for and preoccupation with the foods that they are eating or the stigma of their underlying disease,’ the researchers conclude.'”
I completely agree with this study. Here in Minnesota, I am so blessed that we have a great gluten-free camp so near by. I love sending Emma to a camp that is so easy for me as a parent and now apparently is great for her self worth! I guess I knew it was good for her, but it really is interesting that this research had to come out for me to recognize it.
I wrote about Gluten-Free Fun Camp and my daughter’s experience in a post last August. Not only did they have fabulous gluten-free food which included pizza, a chocolate fountain, and pancakes, but I believe it also helped with their esteem when they wrote a cool song about celiac disease.
Back then my daughter said she was definitely going back in 2010, “…for the food, activities and all my friends.” That she is, and she’s bringing her 8-year-old sister with her!