The Health Consequences of Consanguineous Marriage in Kuwait

in Anthropology of the Middle East
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  • 1 Kuwait University
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The rate of consanguineous marriage in Kuwait is considered to be high. Several research studies have shown that marriage among relatives is one of the major factors leading to health problems because it increases homozygosis. This article deals with both cultural and physical aspects by examining the health consequences of consanguineous marriages in Kuwait. Variables such as reproductive wastage, health problems in the offspring and infant mortality are included and measured in relation to other socio-cultural variables. Cultural variables such as the respondents' roots (Bedouin and non-Bedouin) and beliefs (Muslim Sunni and Muslim Shi'a) are also examined. The results show that there is no significant association between consanguineous and non-consanguineous marriages in the rate of abortion or the mortality of infants and children up to five years old. Finally, the data reveal significant differences between the genetic and genetic-environmental diseases in consanguineous couples' offspring and those of non-consanguineous couples. Since some of these findings contradict those of other studies, more research is needed.

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