Na’amnih, Wasef, Orly Romano-Zelekha, Ahmed Kabaha, Liza Pollack Rubin, Natalya Bilenko, Lutfi Jaber, Mira Honovich, and Tamy Shohat. “Continuous Decrease of Consanguineous Marriages among Arabs in Israel.” American Journal of Human Biology 27.1 (2015): 94-98.
To describe the trend in the rate of consanguineous marriages among the Israeli Arab population and to identify factors associated with this custom shift in recent years.
The study was conducted between November 2009 and January 2010 in Family Health Centers. A questionnaire was presented to parents during routine visits to the center with their children.
Information on 6,437 couples was collected. The rate of consanguineous marriages decreased from 35.8% among those married before 2000, to 28.2% among those married in 2000–2004, and to 24.0% among those married in 2005–2009 (P for trend <0.001). First cousin marriages were the most common type of consanguineous marriages in all the time periods. Consanguineous marriages were associated with consanguinity between the couples’ parents (both husband and wife), a high consanguinity rate in the place of residence and younger age at marriage (wife).
The rates of consanguineous marriages among Israeli Arabs are decreasing but still high. Because consanguineous marriages are widely acceptable, the role of public health professionals and primary care personnel is to provide comprehensive information about the potential genetic risks of consanguinity on offspring health and to increase the accessibility of premarital and preconception counseling services.