Socioeconomic disparities and household crowding in association with the fecal microbiome of school-age children

Yelena Lapidot*, Leah Reshef, Mayan Maya, Dani Cohen, Uri Gophna, Khitam Muhsen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The development of the gut microbiome occurs mainly during the first years of life; however, little is known on the role of environmental and socioeconomic exposures, particularly within the household, in shaping the microbial ecology through childhood. We characterized differences in the gut microbiome of school-age healthy children, in association with socioeconomic disparities and household crowding. Stool samples were analyzed from 176 Israeli Arab children aged six to nine years from three villages of different socioeconomic status (SES). Sociodemographic data were collected through interviews with the mothers. We used 16 S rRNA gene sequencing to characterize the gut microbiome, including an inferred analysis of metabolic pathways. Differential analysis was performed using the analysis of the composition of microbiomes (ANCOM), with adjustment for covariates. An analysis of inferred metagenome functions was performed implementing PICRUSt2. Gut microbiome composition differed across the villages, with the largest difference attributed to socioeconomic disparities, with household crowding index being a significant explanatory variable. Living in a low SES village and high household crowding were associated with increased bacterial richness and compositional differences, including an over-representation of Prevotella copri and depleted Bifidobacterium. Secondary bile acid synthesis, d-glutamine and d-glutamate metabolism and Biotin metabolism were decreased in the lower SES village. In summary, residential SES is a strong determinant of the gut microbiome in healthy school-age children, mediated by household crowding and characterized by increased bacterial richness and substantial taxonomic and metabolic differences. Further research is necessary to explore possible implications of SES-related microbiome differences on children’s health and development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10
Journalnpj Biofilms and Microbiomes
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


FundersFunder number
Tel Aviv University


    Dive into the research topics of 'Socioeconomic disparities and household crowding in association with the fecal microbiome of school-age children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this