Patients with coeliac disease are increasingly overweight or obese on presentation

J Gastrointestin Liver Dis. 2012 Mar;21(1):11-5.


Background: Historically weight loss is a classic symptom of Coeliac Disease (CD). Recent studies suggest CD sufferers are significantly more likely to be obese or underweight at the time of presentation. This study aimed to establish the frequency of obesity in newly diagnosed Coeliac Disease (CD).

Methods: Dietetic records of CD patients were reviewed and patient demographics, initial assessment date, and Body Mass Index (BMI) recorded and statistically analysed.

Results: out of 187 CD patients diagnosed between 1999 and 2009, 127 patients were female (68%) and 60 male (32%) (ratio 2:1). Overall median age was 54 years (range 18 to 87). Median BMI was 23.6, inter-quartile range (IQR) 21.5 - 28.1. Male median BMI was 23.9, IQR 21.8 - 27.3. Female median BMI was 23.2, IQR 21.4 - 28.6. Overall 83 patients (44%) had a BMI of 25 or above. No significant difference was found in the proportion of patients with a BMI of 25 or above when compared according to gender, age or year of referral. Twenty-five patients (13 %) had a BMI of 30 or above. Twenty were female with a median age of 56 years (range 18 - 71). The proportion of females with a BMI of 30 or more was 11% compared with only 3% males (ratio 5:1). Only 5 patients (3%) had a BMI less than 18.5.

Conclusion: A significant proportion of CD patients (close to half of patients) were diagnosed with a BMI of 25 or over. Compared to males, females have a wider range of BMI and more likely to be obese (BMI of 30 or more).

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Body Mass Index
  • Celiac Disease / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / etiology*
  • Overweight / epidemiology
  • Overweight / etiology
  • Young Adult