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As families dealing with cystic fibrosis know all too well, the disease can be difficult to manage.
Not only are medications often costly, the supportive diet can be challenging, especially for younger children.
Which is why for newborns diagnosed with CF, applesauce can serve a pivotal — and nourishing — role.
Many children with cystic fibrosis receive much-needed enzymes through applesauce until about age 4. Applesauce is also preferred because it typically poses a low allergy risk.
“We recommend applesauce for all infants with CF as a way to administer their pancreatic enzymes,” said Shannon Stamper, a registered dietitian and board-certified specialist in pediatric nutrition with St. Luke’s Children’s, noting that the enzymes in applesauce get where they need to go without being prematurely broken down, compared with other foods containing fat or protein.
GoGo Squeez, a large food and snack company, recently donated 7,500 applesauce pouches to St. Luke’s Children’s from its Nampa-based plant. The pouches will be stocked at St. Luke’s Children’s clinic-based food pantry.
“Patients are so grateful that they can leave with a bag of food after their clinic visit during times of need,” Stamper said.
As if cystic fibrosis is not tough enough to manage, food insecurity is not uncommon in families dealing with the diagnosis.
Expensive medications can leave families with few funds to cover food and other costs. The diagnosis also requires children to eat a lot of food; children with cystic fibrosis need more calories due to malabsorption and the increased effort it takes for them to breathe, Stamper said.
“In addition to all of their other medications, applesauce becomes an added cost for families as they need to do this every single time the child with CF eats,” she said.
“Being able to provide families with some applesauce will be immensely helpful and is greatly appreciated.”
Daniel Mediate works in the St. Luke’s Community Engagement department.
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