Younger immigrants at greater risk of developing IBD: study

March 10, 2015

By CTV |

Young immigrants to Canada are at greater risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease — including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis — according to the findings of a new Canadian study released Tuesday.

Researchers at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) say that children who immigrate to Canada appear to take on the same risk level that Canadian children face.

And the younger the age of the children when they arrive to Canada, the greater their risk of developing IBD.

IBD is a painful and debilitating condition that causes inflammation in the digestive tract.

The researchers compared health administration data and immigration data to establish Canadian incidence rates of IBD between 1994 and 2010.

They then compared rates of IBD among immigrants to Canada and their children with rates among non-immigrants.

Researchers found that the younger an immigrant was at the time of his or her arrival in Canada, the greater the risk for developing IBD.

The risk increased by 14 per cent per younger decade. That means a nine-year-old immigrant had a 14 per cent greater risk than a 19-year-old.

Children of immigrants from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia had the same incidence rates of IBD as children of non-immigrants, according to the findings.

However, children of immigrants from East Asia, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean had lower incidence rates of IBD compared to children of non-immigrants.

The findings establish a correlation between early exposure to the Canadian environment in immigrants and the risk of developing IBD, the researchers said.

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