Prevalence of self-reported gluten-related disorders and adherence to a gluten-free diet in salvadoran adult population

N. Ontiveros, C.I. Rodríguez-Bellegarrigue, G. Galicia-Rodríguez, M.J. Vergara-Jiménez, E.M. Zepeda-Gómez, J.G. Arámburo-Galvez, M.H. Gracia-Valenzuela, F. Cabrera-Chávez

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32 Scopus citations


Gluten-related disorders are not considered of relevance at public health level in Central America. The prevalence of gluten-related disorders, and adherence to a gluten-free diet, remain unknown in the Central American region. We conducted a cross-sectional survey of the Central American population from San Salvador, El Salvador, to estimate the prevalence rates of self-reported gluten-related disorders and adherence to a gluten-free diet. 1326 individuals were surveyed. Self-reported prevalence rates were (95% Confidence Interval): gluten sensitivity 3.1% (2.3–4.2); physician-diagnosed celiac disease 0.15% (0.04–0.5); wheat allergy 0.75% (0.4–1.3); non-celiac gluten sensitivity 0.98% (0.5–1.6). The prevalence rate of adherence to a gluten-free diet was 7.0% (5.7–8.5). Seven self-reported physician diagnosed gluten-sensitive cases informed the co-existence of non-celiac gluten sensitivity with celiac disease and/or wheat allergy. Among the non-self-reported gluten sensitivity individuals following a gluten-free diet, 50% reported that they were seeing a health professional for gluten-free dietary advice. Gluten sensitivity is commonly reported in Salvadoran population, but some health professionals acknowledge the coexistence of wheat allergy, celiac disease, and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Among studies at population level, the prevalence of adherence to a gluten-free diet in Salvadoran population is the highest reported until now. However, just a few of the gluten-free diet followers were doing it for health-related benefits; the others reported weight control and the perception that the diet is healthier as the main motivation for adopting such a diet.

Original languageEnglish
Article number786
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

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© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Gluten sensitivity
  • Gluten-free diet
  • Gluten-related disorders


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