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More than just genetics: Lifestyle choices impact GI health

ossible environmental risk factors including a family history of IBD, smoking status, previous appendectomy, breastfeeding as an infant, antibiotic use in adolescence, socioeconomic status, household crowding, and the presence of a vegetable garden.

The study found that patients with a family history of IBD, those who were ex-smokers at the time of diagnosis and those who used more than four courses of antibiotics per year as adolescents were between 1.7 and 6.8 times more likely to develop UC. Conversely, patients who were breastfed for more than three months during infancy or had a household vegetable garden during childhood were 30 percent and 40 percent less likely to develop UC than the control group, respectively. In addition, patients residing in homes that were considered "crowded" (defined as more people than bedrooms) in childhood also had a reduced risk of developing UC.

"This study illustrates that there are a variety of factors unrelated to genetics that play a major role in our long-term digestive health," said Richard Gearry, MBChB, Christchurch Hospital Gastroenterologist and lead study author. "While some of these environmental factors may be beyond our control, researchers should continue to think about the variety of social and environmental factors that may come into play to prevent the disease."


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Contact: Aimee Frank
newsroom@gastro.org
301-941-2620
American Gastroenterological Association
22-May-2006


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