Aim: To provide an estimate of the prevalence of celiac disease by race/ethnic origin in large sample of US population.
Methods: Data from the 2009-2010 and 2011-2012 NHANES were combined and analyzed. The NHANES is a nationally representative survey with oversampling of certain minorities. Sample-based frequencies were reported and weighted frequencies were used to estimate prevalence.
Results: A total of 14,701 participants were checked for tissue transglutaminase (tTG) and endomysial (EMA) IgA antibodies. Seventy-four participants had positive tTG and/or EMA corresponding to prevalence of 0.79 % (95 % CI 0.54-1.04 %). Non-Hispanic white were more likely to be positive for both compared with other races (72.0 vs 31.7 %; p = 0.010) and less likely to be weakly positive for tTG but positive for EMA (3.6 vs 26.4 %; p = 0.03). The prevalence of positive serology according to race was as follows: 1.08 % (95 % CI 0.70-1.45 %) in non-Hispanic white, 0.23 % (95 % CI 0.03-0.43 %) in Mexican, 0.22 % (95 % CI 0.01-0.44 %) in non-Hispanic black, 0.38 % (95 % CI 0.00-0.89 %) in "other Hispanic," and 0.15 % (95 % CI 0.00-0.34 %) in other races including multiracial and undeterminable in non-Hispanic Asian due to the presence of only one positive EMA test. 0.9 % of the NHANES sample participants followed gluten-free diet. Of this group of participants, 85 % were never diagnosed with celiac disease and 99 % of them had negative celiac disease serology.
Conclusions: Potentially 0.79 % of the general US population demonstrate serologic evidence of celiac disease autoimmunity. The prevalence is 4-8 times higher among non-Hispanic white compared with other races. Close to 1 % of the population is electively following gluten-free diet despite having little evidence of the disease.