Digestive Health Month 2021

Join us this May


On May 29th we celebrate World Digestive Health Day!

This event is held in support of an annual tradition initiated by the World Gastroenterology Organisation. The aim of the campaign is to help spread awareness of digestive health. Each year focuses on a particular digestive disease or digestive health-related aspect. This year’s theme is "Obesity: an ongoing pandemic".

Interested in learning more?

Visit WDHD webpage

As a result, we dedicate the entire month of May to a public awareness campaign emphasising the prevalence of obesity across age groups and its significant impact on digestive health.

To further illustrate this we have co-produced an infographic and put together relevant information on the topic:

The European Obesity Crisis

Likewise, to underline the great public health-related challenges the obesity epidemic brings in Europe, Helena Cortez-Pinto, UEG Vice President, discussed the alarming trend of obesity across Europe and its significant impact on a range of chronic digestive diseases in a newly published article. The article also features the remarks of Stella Kyriakides, European Commissioner for Health and Sarah Wiener, Member of the European Parliament on the topic.

Read article

The role of bariatric surgery in alleviating the impact of obesity on chronic digestive diseases

Moreover, UEG expert Daniel Hartmann addressed the role of bariatric surgery in alleviating the impact of obesity on chronic digestive diseases in a timely article which also features Markus Peck, Chair of the UEG Public Affairs Committee, who emphasizes the need for optimal prevention, treatment and care solutions to tackle obesity and improve quality of life of European citizens.

Read article

Key messages


The educational campaign running in May will touch upon the main theme of obesity from four different angles:

Uniting the continent  -  Protecting our future  -  Taking action now  -  Reversing the trend

WGO - WDHD 2021

Uniting the continent: Obesity and chronic digestive diseases across Europe

Obesity & Chronic digestive diseases in adults

Often driven by poor nutritional choices, obesity increases the risk of a range of serious health conditions, including digestive cancers and liver disease. This causes a significant healthcare burden, high societal costs, misery for patients and ultimately, shortens lives.

Protecting our future: Obesity and paediatric digestive diseases

Childhood Obesity: Impact of nutrition on health
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Childhood obesity poses a particularly worrying threat to Europe. Weight problems during childhood are related to a wide range of digestive diseases that continue to develop throughout an individual’s lifespan.

Obesity & Chronic Digestive Diseases in Children


Recognising the causes of childhood obesity represents the first step in tackling the issue. Addressing ingrained family habits, such as portion sizes and sugared beverages that are consumed, can help to reduce the risk of childhood obesity. On a governmental level, the promotion of healthy foods and barriers to the aggressive marketing of fast-food and sugared beverages can potentially help stem the epidemic.

Taking action now: Diet and chronic digestive diseases

Processed foods and digestive diseases

Healthy lifestyle choices act as the most effective preventative measure against obesity and subsequent digestive diseases. In particular, a healthy diet can significantly reduce the risk of obesity. However, the increasing consumption of ultra-processed foods is of deep concern as it mirrors increased obesity prevalence.

To reduce the burden inflicted by obesity in Europe, we issued a position paper calling for mandatory front-of-pack labelling across the EU.

Read position paper

Healthy nutrition recommendations

UEG, and the digestive health experts within its community, recommend a healthy diet and lifestyle for the European population in order to reduce the risk and impact of chronic digestive diseases.

Read full report

Limiting unhealthy food

Understanding the Human Microbiome:
Obesity & liver disease

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Webinar Recording | Understanding the Human Microbiome: Obesity & liver disease

Reversing the trend: Obesity and digestive cancers

Obesity and Colorectal Cancer

Obesity can increase the risk of colorectal cancer by 50 percent, particularly in men. Studies have demonstrated that the consumption of ultra-processed foods is associated with an increased risk of cancer, suggesting that the rapidly increasing consumption of ultra-processed foods may drive the increasing burden of cancer in coming decades. Nevertheless, it is now estimated that approximately half of all cancers are preventable, thus through appropriate action, their burden could be reduced. See our infographic to learn more about the steps you can take to reduce your risk of colorectal cancer:

Estimated CRC incidence

Get involved!

Our campaign does not end here!

We encourage you to share this page within your network throughout the month of May.

Search for #DigestiveHealthMonth on Twitter to find related content and follow the discussions!

Have questions? Contact us at .

Our partners

Public Affairs & Advocacy Management
Andreea Botos
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