Research Brief: Global Celiac Prevalence 0.7 Percent or Higher

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Celiac is a global disease. About 0.7 percent of people on Earth have the condition, or 1 in every 142 people. That estimate comes from a recent meta-analysis pooling data from population studies around the world. It includes studies that showed biopsy-proven diagnosis.

Scientists from the U.S., India, Norway and Italy collaborated on the study, using data from articles published between 1991 and 2016. They found 96 that screened populations using blood tests for antibodies but only 57 that followed up with adequate data on biopsy-proven celiac. Significantly lacking were studies showing prevalence of biopsy-proven celiac in North America. However, seven studies placed the prevalence of blood serology here at 1.4 percent.

Elsewhere, the prevalence of biopsy-proven celiac was 0.8 percent in Europe and Oceania, 0.6 percent in Asia, 0.5 percent in Africa and 0.4 percent in South America. Countries with the highest known biopsy-proven prevalence were Argentina, Egypt, Hungary, Finland, India, New Zealand and Sweden. Those with the highest known blood antibody prevalence were Algeria, Czech Republic, India, Israel, Mexico, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Portugal and Turkey. No data were available from six of the 10 most populous countries: China, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh and Japan. African data came mostly from northern countries. Celiac is believed to be rarer in Sub-Saharan Africa due to lower genetic risk and less wheat consumption.

Prevalence increased from 0.6 percent in studies before 2001 to 0.8 percent in later research. Globally, celiac is 1.5 times more common in women than men and twice as common in children as in adults.


Singh P, Arora A, Strand TA, Leffler DA, Catassi C, Green PH, Kelly CP, Ahuja V and Makharia GK, “Global prevalence of celiac disease: systematic review and meta-analysis,” Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, June 2018, 16;6:823-836.e2,

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