World Digestive Health Day: Promoting gut health

  • Health
  • Thursday, 03 Jul 2014

Increasing awareness: The World Digestive Health Day event saw visitors receiving free health screenings, which included a body mass index (BMI) measurement, body fat analysis and blood pressure (BP) check.

Malaysia commemorated World Digestive Health Day 2014 by creating awareness of the importance of gut microbes for better digestive health.

You are what you eat. This phrase was drummed into visitors of the World Digestive Health Day (WDHD) 2014 road show held in One Utama Shopping Mall in Petaling Jaya recently.

The highlight of the event was the “Digestive Health Journey”, a three-minute multimedia adventure depicting the benefits of good bacteria and the importance of keeping a healthy balance of them in the gut. This coincided well with this year’s WDHD theme, “Gut Microbes – Importance in Health and Disease”. The event was organised by the Digestive Health Advisory Board (DHAB) in collaboration with VITAGEN Healthy Digestion Programme (VHDP).

Arguably, children received the better end of the deal at the event, with various prizes up for grabs, and they couldn’t help but enjoy the many digestive health-themed contests, challenges and competitions offered throughout the five-day road show.

Not only were the activities fun for the kids, it was a great opportunity for them to learn more about their digestive health. During the event, parents and other visitors received free health screenings, which included body mass index (BMI) measurement, body fat analysis and blood pressure (BP) check.

Over 300 people took part in the colon cancer and digestive health survey held at the event, after which a number of DIY stool test or Faecal Occult Blood test (FOBT) kits for diagnosing digestive diseases (i.e. Crohn’s disease and gastroenteritis) were given out. These and other similar activities or services were led by nutritionists, gastroenterologists and fitness experts.

“I found out that I am mildly at risk of contracting colorectal cancer, and this was truly an eye-opener,” said Adibah, a single mother of four, after her session with a nutritionist.

“I didn’t know that poor digestive health could affect so many aspects of my life. The experts gave me a new perspective and some very good tips. I’m informed and ready to change!” said an enthusiastic Wu from Sungai Buloh.

“Digestive health is universal and it’s never too late to start taking care of it,” said Datuk Dr Muhammad Radzi Abu Hassan, consultant gastroenterologist and chairman of DHAB.

Deputy Minister of Health Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Hj Yahaya, who officiated the launch of the event, reiterated the Government’s commitment to fighting against non-communicable diseases (NCDs) through a more robust and comprehensive solution via the National Strategic Plan for NCDs. He said this after stating his concern that Malaysia remains the most overweight country in South-East Asia, according to the World Health Organization 2011 NCD country profile report.

At the launch event, Michael Ong, Vitagen deputy general manager, said: “The VHDP is an educational initiative to raise awareness on digestive health-related issues which we champion as part of our corporate social responsibility (CSR).”

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