Epidemiological and clinical features in immigrant children with coeliac disease: An Italian multicentre study

F. Cataldo, N. Pitarresi, S. Accomando, L. Greco, A. Carlucci, M. Baldassarre, A. C. Intini, L. Corvaglia, M. Masi, M. Spina, V. Bombace, D. Lodin, T. Gentile, M. Montesanti, G. Corona, R. Galizzi, A. Bonarrigo, R. Cassone, C. Sferlazzas, G. MagazzùL. Prampolini, C. Fredella, G. Barera, E. Frison, M. Pitter, S. Amarri, F. Balli, M. Zaffaroni, G. Oderda, G. Bona, G. Guariso, M. L. Fragapane, P. Greco, D. Montaperto, G. M. Amato, G. L. De Angelis, B. Bizzarri, F. Fornalori, C. Ughi, C. Zanacca, M. Castro, A. Diamanti, F. Ferretti, B. Papadatou, M. Gambara, M. Bonamico, M. Guido, P. Fusco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. There are no available data concerning the incidence and the clinical pattern of coeliac disease in immigrant children coming to Italy from developing countries. Aims. To evaluate the epidemiological and clinical features of coeliac immigrant children coming to Italy. Patients and methods. Hospital records of 1917 children diagnosed in 22 Italian Centres from 1999 to 2001 as having coeliac disease were retrospectively reviewed, comparing immigrant patients versus Italian ones. Results. 36/1917 (1.9%) coeliac children were immigrant. This pre valence was similar to that of the immigrant children among the whole paediatric population living in Italy. Prevalence was influenced by geographical factors, being higher in Northern Italy (1.7%) and in Central Italy (2.5%) than in Southern-Insular Italy (1.5%), as consequence of a higher proportion of immigrants in these regions. The native areas of the immigrant children were East Europe (15/36), Northern Africa (14/36), Southern Asia (4/36), West Africa (1/36), East Africa (1/36) and the Middle East (1/36). The clinical spectrum and dietary habits in immigrant patients were similar to those of the Italian children. Conclusions. Coeliac disease among the immigrant children coming from developing countries is an emerging problem, and physicians need to be fully aware of it. An important risk factor for coeliac disease in immigrant children appears to be sharing of the same dietary habits with the Italian population. The finding of coeliac disease in children coming from many countries worldwide suggests that coeliac disease is a global public health problem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)722-729
Number of pages8
JournalDigestive and Liver Disease
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2004


  • Coeliac disease
  • Immigrant children

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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