Another behavioral problem that more often affects teens rather than children is depression. When depressed, some kids will not eat enough while others will overeat.

Nutritional Treatments?

Both Warady and Dr. Lovell have seen families who seek nutritional treatment approaches to their children’s JIA. Dr. Lovell says studies show about 20 percent to 30 percent of patients try alternative therapies, most commonly nutritional therapy. “While very few reviews of these therapies have shown any ill benefits from trying these approaches, there’s no nutritional treatment approach that’s been proven effective for arthritis,” says Dr. Lovell. “The only time that I’ve run into real problems is when the parents are so focused on the nutritional approaches that they’re not willing to incorporate more standard type therapy and children end up losing time getting the disease under control.”

Warady stresses the need for families to tell their health care providers about any supplements, herbs or the like that their child is taking. “There may be possible interactions or side effects they are unaware of with some of the things that they could be taking,” says Warady. Also with a product like omega-3 supplements parents want to make sure their child is taking the right dose and not ingesting too much.

All in all, giving children the most nutritionally balanced diets possible combined with medical treatment that keeps their arthritis in check will go the farthest toward producing happy, healthy kids.