In promoting digestive health, we work towards the prevention of digestive diseases, as well as the advancement and equal access to treatments to help improve patient outcomes. We focus on reducing the socio-economic burden of digestive diseases and call for increased research funding.
In order to enhance our advocacy efforts, we have produced a Manifesto on Digestive Health as our plea towards policymakers. The Manifesto underlines our key focus areas and aims to prioritise digestive health on the political agenda of the EU.
1 International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders. Facts About IBS. https://www.aboutibs.org/facts-about-ibs.html.
2 Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis. 2013. The burden of inflammatory bowel disease in Europe. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23395397
3 EASL. The Burden of liver disease in Europe. www.easl.eu/medias/EASLimg/Discover/EU/54ae845caec619f_file.pdf
1 NCBI. 2012. Dietary-induced cancer prevention: An expanding research arena of emerging diet related to healthcare system. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3312721/
2 NCBI. 2015. Red Meat and Colorectal Cancer. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4698595/
3 United European Gastroenterology. 2015. Eating less salt may reduce the risk of stomach cancer: UEG calls for greater salt-awareness across Europe. https://www.ueg.eu/press/releases/ueg-press-release/article/eating-less-salt-may-reduce-the-risk-of-stomach-cancer-ueg-calls-for-greater-salt-awareness-across-1/
4 NCBI. 2016. Association between Ultra-Processed Food Consumption and Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: Results from the French NutriNet-Santé Cohort. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29904158
5 World Health Organisation Europe. 2018. Data and statistics. http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/disease-prevention/alcohol-use
6 World Health Organisation Europe. 2018. Data and statistics. http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/disease-prevention/alcohol-use
7 Awareness Week on Alcohol Related Harm. 2016. The negative economic footprint of alcohol related harm. http://www.awarh.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/The-negative-economic-footprint-of-alcohol-related-harm.pdf
8 Journal of the Royal College of Physicians. 2010. Trends in European liver death rates: implications for alcohol policy. http://www.clinmed.rcpjournal.org/content/10/3/259long
9 Global Cancer Observatory. 2012. Population Fact Sheets (EU-28). http://gco.iarc.fr/today/
10 Global Cancer Observatory. 2012. Predictions. http://globocan.iarc.fr/Pages/burden_sel.aspx.
11 United European Gastroenterology. 2017. Pancreatic cancer set to become third biggest cancer killer in EU next year. https://www.ueg.eu/press/releases/ueg-press-release/article/pancreatic-cancer-set-to-become-third-biggest-cancer-killer-in-eu-next-year/
12 The Lancet Oncology. 2013. Economic burden of cancer across the European Union: a population-based cost analysis.http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpub/article/PIIS1470-2045(13)70442-X/fulltext
13 BMJ. Study suggest possible link between highly processed foods and cancer. https://www.bmj.com/company/newsroom/study-suggests-possible-link-between-highly-processed-foods-and-cancer/
14 World Health Organisation. 2014. Global status report on alcohol and health 2014. https://www.who.int/substance_abuse/en/
15 UEG. Europe is “failing” to deal with chronic digestive burden”. 2018, https://www.ueg.eu/press/releases/ueg-press-release/article/europe-is-failing-to-deal-with-chronic-digestive-disease-burden/
Our core positions
At the core of our advocacy work are four core focus areas: nutrition; alcohol-related harm; chronic digestive diseases and digestive cancers. For each area, we closely monitor policy developments and issue calls to EU policymakers in order to drive change.
Dietary choices can increase the risk of developing chronic digestive diseases. The increasing consumption of ultra-processed foods, including those high in sugar, salt, saturated fats and trans-fats, is a huge concern and places an excessive strain on European health systems.
We have co-organised the Webinar ‘The gut microbiome – revealing the power of nutrition’ featuring MEP Sarah Wiener.
- Greater understanding of digestive diseases and promotion of a change in eating culture
- Whole-of-society approach to transform food systems: establishing clear, scientific targets and limiting the consumption and production of unhealthy foods
- Comprehensive range of policies to limit the availability, affordability and acceptability of fast foods (fiscal measures, marketing, labelling)
- Legislation to ban industrial trans-fats
- Subsidies to increase the intake of fruits and vegetables
- Support initiatives on digestive cancers, within the remit of the new EU Cancer Plan and include a lifestyle approach on prevention.
- Prioritise the implementation of standardized population-based and quality-controlled screening programmes in member states and ensure that guidelines are updated.
- Increase funding for pancreatic cancer research (basic science and clinical studies)
Chronic digestive diseases inflict a heavy healthcare and socio-economic burden in Europe. These diseases often affect patients at a younger age and lifelong disorders can have a significant impact on society. IBD, for example, affects 3 million people across Europe and costs the EU up to €5.6 billion per year.
- Support a greater emphasis on health in the 2019-24 mandate.
- Recognise the socio-economic burden of chronic digestive diseases.
- Increase funding for the prevention and management of chronic digestive diseases and their impact on health systems.
- Build a comprehensive EU strategy on chronic diseases.
The European region has the highest level of alcohol consumption in the world, with 25% of deaths from digestive diseases directly attributed to alcohol.
- Prioritise protection from excessive alcohol consumption, including the prevention of aggressive marketing and deliver on a regulatory approach to labelling.
- New EU Alcohol Strategy to support EU countries in reducing alcohol-related harm.
Position paper addressing unhealthy dietary patterns through mandatory front-of-pack labelling (2020)
To promote optimal digestive health and to reduce the burden inflicted by obesity and chronic digestive diseases, we call in this position paper for the adoption of mandatory front-of-pack labelling (FOPL) across the EU.
Position paper concerning COVID-19 and digestive health (2020)
This position paper features our recommendations and calls to governments, EU institutions and interest groups across Europe concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coordinating European Action Against Colorectal Cancer – CRC Manifesto (2020)
In this manifesto, we call for the implementation of organised, population-based screening programmes across the entirety of the EU and for Member States to improve the coverage and quality of existing programmes and reduce the burden of colorectal cancer.
Key priorities for Horizon Europe Strategic Plan on Cluster 1 and its health-related challenges (2019)
The UEG Research Committee contributed to the consultation on Horizon Europe Strategic Plan, underlining UEG key priorities on Cluster 1 of the new EU research programme and its health-related challenges.
Joint press statement: Spirits industry afraid of their own ingredients? (2019)
In response to the spirits’ industry approach to labelling their products, UEG together with Eurocare, EPHA, EASL, CPME, AIM and NordAN released a joint press statement pointing out the shortcomings of the self-regulatory approach on alcohol labelling.
UEG and WONCA joint statement on reducing the burden of chronic digestive diseases (2019)
This UEG and WONCA joint statement sheds light on the burden of chronic digestive diseases in Europe. It highlights the role of primary care physicians in reducing this burden and recommends key actions that can be taken in primary care settings.
Horizon Europe, Framework Programme 9 (FP9) (2018)
In its position paper on Horizon Europe, Framework Programme 9, UEG makes five main calls to EU’s policymakers which correspond to the main areas of concern in gastroenterology.
Improving digestive health in Europe: Time to act (2018)
This position paper raises awareness about the magnitude of digestive diseases in Europe. It also creates awareness regarding the major risk factors for digestive health and calls for immediate action at EU-level.
Digestive cancers: Why actions are needed? (2017)
This position paper gives an overview of the burden of digestive cancers within Europe and outlines concrete action to be taken at EU-level in order to improve the current state of art.
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