Functional abdominal pain and nutritional status of children. A school-based study

Amanda C. Fifi, Carlos Velasco-Benitez, Miguel Saps

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Functional abdominal pain disorders (FAPD) are the most common chronic pain conditions in pediatric gastroenterology. They account for 50% of all pediatric gastroenterology clinic visits. The pathophysiology of FAPDs is poorly understood, but there is growing understanding of the role of food and the patient’s nutritional state in both their treatment and prognosis. Clinic-based studies have shown a higher prevalence of FAPDs, and worse prognosis among obese children with FAPDs. We aimed to assess the nutritional status of children with FAPD to determine if there is increased prevalence of FAPDs in obese or underweight patients. We conducted a cross sectional study of schoolchildren in Colombia. We enrolled 1030 patients from five schools and screened them for FAPDs using Rome IV criteria. Data on weight, height, abdominal circumference and BMI were collected for each child. Cases (FAPDs) were compared with a control group of enrolled children who did not meet diagnostic criteria for any functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGID). We diagnosed 58 (5.8%) children with FAPDs based on Rome IV criteria. When we compared to participants who were not diagnosed with FGIDs by screening, there was no statistically significant difference in children who were obese (OR 0.34 CI: 0.03–1.34, p = 0.124) or overweight (OR 1.00 CI: 0.46–2.02, p = 0.984) or those with increased abdominal circumference (OR 0.94, CI: 0.10–3.90, p = 0.943). FAPDs are not more common among obese children compared with healthy controls at a community level. Obese children may have been overrepresented in previous studies which were done at a clinical level due to comorbidities and a more severe phenotype that makes them more likely to consult. Nutritional status is not a useful predictor for the occurrence of FAPDs in children in the general population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2559
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Functional abdominal pain
  • Functional dyspepsia
  • Functional gastrointestinal disorders
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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