18 WORLD GASTROENTEROLOGY NEWS JULY 2016 Editorial | Expert Point of View | Gastro 2016: EGHS-WGO | WDHD News | WGO & WGOF News | WGO Global Guidelines | Calendar of Events months. Dr. Govind K. Makharia discussed what we understand about a normal digestive health. A good digestive health can be defined as ‘a state of physical and mental wellbeing with-out gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms,’ which also include the absence of risk factors and indicators of diseases affecting the gut. He further empha-sized that approximately one-third of the world’s population suffer from digestive health related symptoms at any given point in time. Some of the most common symptoms include constipation, bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Constipation is particularly common in many patients who show no other signs of disease. Across the world, approximately 14% of the population suffer from consti-pation. This figure increases with age, and those older than 60 years are 40% are more likely to experience constipa-tion than adults under 30 years of age. While these symptoms are not life-threatening, they can have a det-rimental effect on general wellbeing and quality of life, resulting in a loss of work productivity and an increase in health care utilization and clinic visits. The latter two outcomes have significant effects on the economy of health care systems. Maintaining a diet that is healthy and well balanced, with an emphasis on adequate fiber intake, is one of the key factors in primary prevention of GI disease. Dietary intervention represents a safe, effective, and eco-nomical treatment for constipation. Increasing the intake of fiber in the diet increases bulk in the digestive tract, promoting colonic propulsion and reducing transit time, as well as having a positive effect on the gut microbiome. The benefits of fiber go beyond that of laxation; Angie Jef-ferson highlighted the association of a higher fiber intake with mood and psychological wellbeing, as well as the importance of fiber in women’s health, particularly in pregnancy and around menstruation when hormones have a dramatic impact on transit time. Dietary fiber has been highlighted as a nutrient of concern and deficien-cy in many European countries, with intakes well below those recommend-ed for laxation (25g/day) and good overall health (30g/day). Studies sug-gest that individuals need to achieve an increase of approximately 10g fiber per day to address this deficiency. Despite consistent public health messaging for over four decades to communicate the benefits of fiber and encourage consumption, intakes have failed to rise. This is particularly true in Westernized countries where the consumption of cereal foods has fallen, and is continuing to decline. In order to achieve this increase and meet fiber intake recommendations, educating health care professionals to provide practical and simple advice to patients is crucial. Three workshops were also held on very contemporary topics such as the role of the food industry in public health and consumer behavioral changes, development of nutritious food and public health policies, and education of the consumers. Overall the Nutrition Summit provided an opportunity to discuss pertinent aspects of human nutrition, with nature itself as the backdrop, in the beautiful city of Sitges.
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