Increasing incidence of childhood coeliac disease in Sweden. Results of a national study

Authors


B Cavell, Department of Paediatrics, University Hospital, S–22J 85 Lund, Sweden

Abstract

A survey of the incidence of coeliac disease was carried out by asking all 43 paediatric departments in Sweden to report the number of children born between 1978 and 1987 in whom coeliac disease had been diagnosed. Thirty-four departments representing a population of 7.18 million reported 1944 cases of coeliac disease among 804935 children born between 1978 and 1987. The cumulative incidence of coeliac disease was 1.7 per 1000 live births in children born between 1978 and 1982 and doubled to 3.5 per 1000 live births in children born after 1982. The highest incidence was found in the southern and south-eastern regions of the country. The observed increase may have been influenced by changes in infant feeding practices such as the postponed age of introduction of gluten from four to six months of age and an increase in gluten content of proprietary baby foods.

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