The prevalence of gastrointestinal diseases in israeli adolescents and its association with body mass index, gender, and jewish ethnicity

Dan Avi Landau, Avishy Goldberg, Zohar Levi, Yehezkel Levy, Yaron Niv, Yosefa Bar-Dayan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: The objectives of this study were to describe gastrointestinal (GI) disease prevalence in Israeli adolescents, and possible associations between prevalence and body mass index (BMI), sex and Jewish ethnicity. DESIGN: A retrospective analysis of screening for GI disease performed by the Israeli Defense Forces recruiting office between 1998 and 2003. SETTING: Screening was performed at the recruiting office, and included detailed history and physical examination performed by a general practitioner. Further testing was performed as needed and the final diagnosis was established by a gastroenterologist at the recruiting office. PATIENTS: Seventeen-year-old Israeli nationals. RESULTS: During the study period, 466,855 (58.5% male) adolescents were screened for GI disease. Peptic ulcer disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and nonulcer dyspepsia were the most prevalent disorders affecting 466/10, 460/10, and 296/10, respectively. There was an increase in the prevalence of lactose intolerance during the study period and also an increase in the prevalence of peptic ulcer disease in females. The prevalence of inflammatory bowel disease has also increased from 100/10 to 149/10, although this trend failed to reach statistical significance (P=0.097). Higher BMI was associated with statistically significant higher prevalence rates of gastroesophageal reflux disease (P<0.05). A stronger association in females was found in gallbladder disease (P<0.001). Lower BMI was associated with higher prevalence rates of irritable bowel syndrome (P<0.001), and higher rates of inflammatory bowel disease and lactose intolerance in males (P<0.01 and <0.001, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: GI diseases are not uncommon among adolescents, and for some disorders prevalence is rising. The association between BMI and prevalence has been further clarified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)903-909
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Gastroenterology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Sep 2008


  • Celiac disease
  • Cholelithiasis, adolescent
  • Epidemiology
  • Familial adenomatous polyposis
  • Gastro-esophageal reflux disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Pancreatitis
  • Peptic ulcer disease


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