A new study shows the "westernisation" of people of Asian ancestry has led to a three-fold increase in inflammatory bowel disease in the last ten years.
The study from Hong Kong highlights the increasing risk of incurable diseases such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis to Australians of all Asian backgrounds.
The report's author, UNSW Senior Lecturer in Medicine, Dr Rupert Leong, believes the increase may be caused by factors such as changed eating habits or hygiene practices.
"There's a shift from the traditional meals of fish to red meats and saturated fats, there's also increased refined sugars and maybe overall increased calorie intake.
"Other reasons may be a change in hygiene where previously they may be exposed to gastro-intestinal tract infections at a younger age, but nowadays with increasing hygiene they're no longer getting those infections and they may be very sensitive to bacteria in the bowel."
Dr Leong says there's also evidence that Middle Eastern migrants to Australia are beginning to follow the same trend.