Oriana Damas, MD
Oriana Damas, MD

Poster 347 Hispanic Immigrants Developing IBD Are More Likely to Eat American Food

Author Insight from Oriana Damas, MD, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

What’s new here and important for clinicians?

The study of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) among immigrants coming from low to high IBD prevalent countries offers a unique opportunity to identify environmental exposures that may contribute to development of IBD. In our study, we looked at immigrant Hispanics with and without IBD and asked them for a detailed intake of their diet and acculturation.

We found that Hispanic immigrants with IBD were more likely to report changes in their diet and to reflect a more “Americanized diet” compared to Hispanic controls. To our knowledge, this is the first time that anyone in the U.S. has examined changes in diet as a result of migration and the impact this has on development of IBD.

This is important for clinicians to recognize because it highlights that an “Americanized” diet, which implies more fast food intake, as well as higher protein and fat intake, is important not only in prevention of obesity and metabolic syndrome, but also, perhaps, in the prevention of immune-mediated diseases, such as IBD.

What do patients need to know?

It’s important for patients to know that inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) develops as a result of both genetics and environmental factors. Not everyone has the same likelihood of developing IBD, and a component of this has to do with your own family history. In this study, we found that in patients who immigrated to the U.S. and ate “more American” diets, there was a higher prevalence of IBD than in those who ate “less American.” This implies that if you have a strong family history of IBD, it may be another reason to consume a healthier diet. With that said, larger prospective studies are needed to confirm these findings and whether these results are relevant to people of all ethnic backgrounds.

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Author Contact Oriana Damas, MD, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine odamas@med.miami.edu

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