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Climate tied to inflammatory bowel disease risk

Posted on: January 12, 2012   by  Vitamin D Council


Research published in the journal Gutthis month reports that incidence of inflammatory bowel disease among US women may be related to climate.

The study found that living in a place with higher UV exposure significantly reduces women’s risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

More than 1.5 million Americans suffer from IBD. IBD can inflammation of the intestinal lining associated with vomiting, diarrhea, and other socially embarrassing symptoms.

Researchers reviewed studies of more than 238,000 women total taking part in the Nurses’ Health Study, which started in 1976. They collected information on where the women were living at birth, age 15, and age 30. They also took note if there were any diagnoses of IBD.

The researchers found that incidence of IBD increased significantly with increasing latitude. Women who lived in Southern regions of the US had a 52% lower risk of being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and a 38% lower risk of getting ulcerative colitis than those who lived in Northern areas. The highest risk for developing the disease was associated with latitude of residence at age 30.

This research is consistent with previous studies showing a similar association in European countries.


Khalili H, et al. Geographical variation and incidence of inflammatory bowel disease among US women. Gut. 2012.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Overview. Mayo Clinic.

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