Rome Foundation Releases Key Data on Worldwide Prevalence & Burden of Functional GI Disorders
from Global Epidemiology Study


RALEIGH, NC (April 22, 2020) – The Rome Foundation is proud to release the results of its global study on the worldwide prevalence and burden of twenty-two Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, otherwise known as Disorders of Gut-Brain Interactions (DGBI), from 33 countries on 6 continents, in a paper soon to appear in the prestigious journal Gastroenterology.

The study was initiated by Dr. Ami Sperber, member of the Rome Foundation Board of Directors, and conducted with the collaboration of key principal investigators in the 33 participating countries. Data collection methods included internet surveys in 24 countries, personal interviews in 7 countries, where Internet surveys were not feasible, and both internet and personal interview methods in China and Turkey, using the Rome IV Adult Diagnostic Questionnaire, the Rome III IBS questions and over 80 other questionnaire items to identify variables associated with these disorders.

The results of the study show that more than 40% of persons worldwide have DGBIs, affecting both quality of life and healthcare utilization rates. The Rome Foundation Global Epidemiology Study is the first large-scale, multi-national study on the prevalence and burden of these conditions. It will have a significant impact on our understanding of these conditions at the global and regional levels including associations with gender, age, culture, diet, and psychosocial factors, as well as their significant burden on quality of life, health care utilization and other health system and economic factors.

“The complexity of this study is reflected in the fact that it took over ten years from the initial idea to the initial publication. Over that period of time, the network of researchers was established, the study questions and design were formulated, the methodology was determined (in particular data collection methods), the project was implemented, the data were analyzed, and the first paper accepted for publication in Gastroenterology. Having said that, this is only the beginning. The depth of the database of over 73,000 respondents from 33 countries in 6 continents and the breath of the study questionnaire will provide substance for new analyses and multiple papers for time to come.” said Global Study Director, Dr. Ami Sperber.

In Latin-America, the study was leaded by Prof. Max Schmulson from UNAM-Mexico, Prof. Carlos Francisconi from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre-Brazil, Prof. Albis Hani from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogota-Colombia and Dr. Luis Bustos Fernández from Buenos Aires-Argentina, together with Dr. Aurelio López-Colombo from Puebla-México and Dr. Valeria Costa from Bogota-Colombia.

Prof. Schmulson stated: “The Rome Foundation Global Epidemiology Study provides us with state-of-the-art reliable data on the prevalence and impact of DGBIs in our region, and how these compare to other countries. The findings in Mexico, Brazil, Colombia and Argentina confirm the need to increase the awareness of these conditions and their relevance with clinicians and health policy decision makers. They will also help to establish needs for further research and for resource allocation.”

“This study reflects Rome Foundation’s continued commitment to advancing the science and moving us forward in understanding Disorders of Gut-Brain Interaction. It also confirms the Rome Foundation as an organization with a truly global reach. The epidemiological basis and additional data analyses that stem from this important study will impact the field for years to come and the Rome Foundation will continue to lead the way in this effort.” said Rome Foundation President, Jan Tack.


About the Rome Foundation

For 30 years, the Rome Foundation has sought to legitimize and update our knowledge of DGBIs. We have accomplished this by bringing together scientists and clinicians from around the world to classify and critically appraise the science of gastrointestinal function and dysfunction. This work has enabled the experts convened by the Foundation to make recommendations for diagnosis and treatment that can be applied in research and clinical practice. These recommendations are provided in the Foundation’s publications and reflected in the Rome diagnostic criteria.

For more information, or to set up an interview with Dr. Ami Sperber, Global Study Director, contact Johannah Ruddy

Rome Foundation Global Study Logo