Aim: Little is known on the possible existence of socioeconomic and geographical differences in early coeliac disease (CD) risk. Therefore, we investigated these aspects in children before age two.
Methods: Linking the Swedish Medical Birth Registry to several other national registries, we identified all singletons born in Sweden from 1987 to 1993 (n = 792 401) and followed them until 2 years of age to identify cases of CD. Applying multilevel logistic regression analysis, we investigated the association between socioeconomic position (SEP) and CD in children and also whether a possible geographical variation in CD risk was explained by individual characteristics.
Results: Low SEP was associated with CD in boys OR 1.37 (95% CI 1.03–1.82), but not in girls OR 0.87 (95% CI 0.68–1.12). We found a considerable geographical variation in disease risk (i.e. intra-municipality correlation ≈ 10%) that was not explained by individual characteristics.
Conclusions: Low SEP is associated with CD in boys but not in girls. Also, CD appears to be conditioned by geographical area of residence. While our study represents an innovative contribution to the epidemiology of CD in children, the reasons for the observed geographical and socioeconomic differences could be speculated but are still unknown.