Lower Rate of IBD for Women Living in Sunnier Climates

Residence at age 30 correlates strongly with risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease

FRIDAY, Jan. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Living in the southern latitudes is associated with a reduced risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), with residence at age 30 most strongly related to the risk, according to a study published online Jan. 11 in Gut.

Hamed Khalili, M.D., from Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues assessed the incidence of Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) in relation to latitude in women enrolled in the Nurses' Health Study I (NHS I) in 1976 and NHS II in 1989. In 1992 and 1993, data on state of residence at the time of birth, at age 15 years, and at age 30 years were collected. Medical record review was used to confirm diagnoses of incident CD and UC, through 2003.

The researchers found that, among 175,912 women reporting their residence, there were 257 cases of CD and 313 cases of UC documented. There was a significant increase in the incidence of CD and UC with increasing latitude, with residence at age 30 years correlating more strongly with the risk. The multivariate adjusted hazard ratio for women residing in southern latitudes was 0.48 for CD and 0.62 for UC, compared with women residing in northern latitudes at age 30. Smoking history did not impact the association between latitude of residence and the risk of CD and UC.

"In a population of U.S. women, increasing latitude of residence was associated with a higher incidence of CD and UC," write the authors.

One of the study authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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