UEG Week: Half of all commonly used drugs profoundly affecting the gut microbiome, warn experts

(Barcelona, October 23, 2019) A new study presented at UEG Week 2019 has found that 18 commonly used drug categories extensively affect the taxonomic structure and metabolic potential of the gut microbiome. Eight different categories of drugs were also found to increase antimicrobial resistance mechanisms in the study participants. 

Researchers at the University Medical Center Groningen and the Maastricht University Medical Center looked at 41 commonly used drug categories and assessed 1883 faecal samples from a population-based cohort, patients with IBD and patients with IBS intermixed with healthy controls. The researchers compared the taxonomic and metabolic functions profiles of drug users to non-drug users, looking at the effect of single medication use and then combined medication use. The changes observed could increase the risk of intestinal infections, obesity and other serious conditions and disorders linked to the gut microbiome.  Gut microbiota is the microbe population living in the intestine. It contains tens of trillions of microorganisms, including at least 1000 different species of known bacteria. The human gut’s microbiota population is influenced by a number of different factors, including medication. The microbiome has received increasing attention over the last 15 years with numerous studies reporting changes in the gut microbiota during not only obesity, diabetes, and liver diseases but also cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.  The drug categories found to have the biggest impact on the microbiome include: 
  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) – used to treat dyspepsia which affects between 11% and 24% of the European population. PPIs are also used to treat peptic ulcer, H. Pylori eradication, Gastro reflux and Barrett’s oesophagus.
  • Metformin – used as a treatment for Type 2 diabetes, affecting 10% of European adults
  • Antibiotics – used to treat bacterial infections, taken by 34% of the European population each year
  • Laxatives – used to treat and prevent constipation, affecting 17% of European adults
The gut microbiota of PPI users showed increased abundance of upper gastrointestinal tract bacteria and increased fatty acid production, while metformin users had higher levels of the potentially harmful bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli).  The researchers also found that an additional seven drug categories were associated with significant changes in bacterial populations in the gut. The use of certain antidepressants (called SSRIs) by those with IBS was associated with an abundance of the potentially harmful bacteria species Eubacterium ramulus. The use of oral steroids was associated with high levels of methanogenic bacteria which has been associated with obesity and an increase in BMI.   Commenting, lead-researcher Arnau Vich Vila said: “We already know that the efficiency and the toxicity of certain drugs are influenced by the bacterial composition of the gastrointestinal tract and that the gut microbiota has been related to multiple health conditions; therefore, it is crucial to understand which are the consequences of medication use in the gut microbiome. Our work highlights the importance of considering the role of the gut microbiota when designing treatments and also points to new hypotheses that could explain certain side-effects associated with medication use.” Notes to Editors  For further information, or to arrange an interview with Arnau Vich Vila, please contact Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or +44 (0) 7732 499170 or by email media@ueg.eu  We kindly ask that a reference to UEG Week 2019 is included when communicating any information within this press release.  About Arnau Vich Vila Arnau Vich Vila is a computational biologist specialized in the study of human gut microbiota. He is currently finalizing his PhD under the supervision of professor Rinse K. Weersma at the department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology of the University Medical Center of Groningen. His research focuses on the role of the gut microbiota in gastrointestinal diseases and the impact of environmental factors on the gut ecosystem. In the recent years he has published studies describing the microbial signatures in patients with inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome and identifying the effect of proton-pump inhibitors on the gut microbiota.   About UEG Week UEG Week is the largest and most prestigious gastroenterology meeting in Europe and has developed into a global congress. It attracts over 14,000 participants each year, from more than 120 countries, and numbers are steadily rising. UEG Week provides a forum for basic and clinical scientists from across the globe to present their latest research in digestive and liver diseases, and also features a two-day postgraduate course that brings together top lecturers in their fields for a weekend of interactive learning. About UEG UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European medical specialist and national societies focusing on digestive health. Our member societies represent more than 30,000 specialists from every field of gastroenterology. Together, we provide services for all healthcare professionals and researchers, in the broad area of digestive health. The role of UEG is to take concerted efforts to learn more about digestive disease by prevention, research, diagnosis, cure and raising awareness of their importance.  To advance the standards of gastroenterological care and knowledge across the world and to reduce the burden of digestive diseases, UEG offers numerous activities and initiatives, including:
  • UEG Week, the biggest congress of its kind in Europe, and one of the two largest in the world
  • UEG Education, the universal source of knowledge in gastroenterology, providing online and classroom courses, a huge online library and delivering the latest GI news, fostering debate and discussion
  • Activity Grants, promoting and funding educational projects in the field of digestive health to advance and harmonise the training and continuing education of professionals
  • UEG Journal, covering translational and clinical studies from all areas of gastroenterology
  • Public Affairs, promoting research, prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases, and helping develop an effective health policy for Europe
  • Quality of Care, European-based and English clinical practice guidelines, clinical standards, consensus, position papers and standard protocols in the field of digestive health, are available in the repository. 
Find out more about UEG’s work by visiting www.ueg.eu or contact:     Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu  Follow UEG on Twitter  References
  1. Vich Vila, A. et al., 2019. Impact of 41 commonly used drugs on the composition, metabolic function and resistome of the gut microbiome. Presented at UEG Week Barcelona October XX, 2019.
  2. Cani PD., Human gut microbiome: hopes, threats and promises Gut 2018;67:1716-1725.
  3. World Journal of Gastroenterology. 2006. Epidemiology of functional dyspepsia: A global perspective. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4130971/.
  4. WHO Europe (2019) Diabetes: Data and statistics, Available at: http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/noncommunicable-diseases/diabetes/data-and-statistics European Commission. 2016.
  5. Special Eurobarometer 445: Antimicrobial Resistance. European Commission; Brussels, Belgium.
  6. Peppas, George, et al., 2008. "Epidemiology of constipation in Europe and Oceania: a systematic review." BMC gastroenterology 8.1:5.

UEG Week: Plant-based foods and Mediterranean diet associated with healthy gut microbiome, research reveals

(Barcelona, October 21, 2019) A study presented at UEG Week 2019 has shown that specific foods could provide protection for the gut, by helping bacteria with anti-inflammatory properties to thrive. 

Researchers from the University Medical Center Groningen, The Netherlands have found that certain foods including legumes, bread, fish, nuts and wine are associated with high levels of friendly gut bacteria that aids the biosynthesis of essential nutrients and the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), the main source of energy for cells lining the colon. The findings support the idea that the diet could be an effective management strategy for intestinal diseases, through the modulation of the gut bacteria.    The experts observed four study groups, the general population, patients with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The researchers analysed a stool sample provided by each participant to reconstruct the host’s microbiota and compared this with the results of a food frequency survey. The results identified 61 individual food items associated with microbial populations and 49 correlations between food patterns and microbial groups.  The experts found that: 
  • Dietary patterns rich in bread, legumes, fish and nuts, were associated with a decrease in potentially harmful, aerobic bacteria. Higher consumption of these foods was also associated with lower levels of inflammatory markers in stool that are known to rise during intestinal inflammation
  • A higher intake of meat, fastfoods or refined sugar was associated with a decrease in beneficial bacterial functions and an increase in inflammatory markers
  • Red wine, legumes, vegetables, fruit, cereals, fish and nuts were associated with a higher abundance of bacteria with anti-inflammatory functions
  • Plant-based diets were found to be associated with high levels of bacterial SCFA production, the main source of energy for cells lining the colon
  • Plant protein was found to help the biosynthesis of vitamins and amino acids as well as the breaking down of sugar alcohols and ammonium excretion
  • Animal-derived and plant-derived protein showed opposite associations on the gut microbiota
Gut microbiota Gut microbiota is the term given to the microbe population living in the intestine. Studies have shown that gut microbes play an important role in human health, including immune, metabolic and neurobehavioral traits. Links have also been made to obesity and a lack of diversity of the microbiota has been shown in people with inflammatory diseases such as IBD, psoriatic arthritis, diabetes, atopic eczema, coeliac disease and arterial stiffness. In these diseases, certain diets have been implicated as risk factors and this new research indicates that gut microbiota may help explain the link between diet and disease.  The burden of intestinal diseases Intestinal diseases represent a significant cost burden to the European economy, population and healthcare systems. Approximately 3 million people in Europe are affected by IBD and it has an estimated direct healthcare cost of up to €5.6 billion. Obesity presents an even bigger public health concern, with over 50% of the European population considered overweight or obese and associated costs of €81 billion each year. Commenting, lead researcher Laura Bolte said, “We looked in depth at the association between dietary patterns or individual foods and gut microbiota. Connecting the diet to the gut microbiome gives us more insight into the relation between diet and intestinal disease. The results indicate that diet is likely to become a significant and serious line of treatment or disease management for diseases of the gut – by modulating the gut microbiome”.  To conclude the dietary recommendations that could be derived from the study, Bolte added, “A diet characterised by nuts, fruits, greater vegetable and legume intake than animal protein, combined with moderate consumption of animal derived foods like fish, lean meat, poultry, fermented low fat dairy, and red wine, and a lower intake of red meat, processed meat and sweets, is beneficially associated with the gut ecosystem in our study.” 

Summary of the key findings in relation to food or food pattern and effect on the gut microbiota

Food/Food Pattern

Observed effect on gut microbiota 

Plant-based diet

Associated with bacterial production of SCFAs, the main source of energy for the cells lining the colon. 

Plant Protein

Associated with the biosynthesis of vitamins and amino acids and the degradation of sugar alcohols. Also associated with an increase in friendly bacteria Bifidobacteria and a decrease in Blautia and Streptococci.

Animal Protein

Associated with an increase in Blautia and Streptococci and a decrease in Bifidobacteria. 

Low-fat fermented dairy

Associated with an increase of friendly bacteria and their functions: Lactococcus lactis, Lactobacilli and Bifidobacterium bifidum. 

Mediterranean dietary pattern compromising plant protein, bread, legumes, vegetables, fish, nuts, wine 

Associated with increased abundances of friendly bacteria Roseburia hominis, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and Bifidobacteria and carbohydrate fermenting pathways which provide cells in the gut with energy.

Bread & Legumes





Fish & Nuts

Food combinations associated with a decrease in bacterial species that have been linked to inflammation and obesity: Bacteroides fragilis, Escherichia coli (E.coli), and Clostridium bolteae. Also associated with a decrease in functional pathways of aerobic bacteria and enterobacteria.

Associated with reduced inflammatory markers in blood and stool.

 

Meat, potatoes & gravy

Sweets & table sugar, Fastfood & softdrinks

Food combinations associated with an increase in functional pathways of aerobic bacteria and enterobacteria.

Associated with increased inflammatory markers in blood and stool. 

Notes to Editors For further information, or to arrange an interview with Laura Bolte, please contact Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or +44 (0) 7732 499170 or by email media@ueg.eu We kindly ask that a reference to UEG Week 2019 is included when communicating any information within this press release.  About Laura Bolte Laura Bolte is a dietician currently pursuing an MD and PhD in the field of nutrition and the gut microbiome. Her research is conducted at the dept. of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) under supervision of Prof. Rinse Weersma. She graduated with a degree in Nutritional Sciences in Germany, where she performed research on diet-mediated endocrine and metabolic changes in diabetes, obesity as well as malnutrition.  The research presented at UEG Week 2019 has been subject of her medical thesis and is nominated as best thesis at the UMCG. Laura’s research interests also extend to the diet-gut microbiome relation in melanoma, aiming to identify dietary factors and microbial targets to improve responsiveness to immunotherapy in cancer patients.   About UEG Week UEG Week is the largest and most prestigious gastroenterology meeting in Europe and has developed into a global congress. It attracts over 14,000 participants each year, from more than 120 countries, and numbers are steadily rising. UEG Week provides a forum for basic and clinical scientists from across the globe to present their latest research in digestive and liver diseases, and also features a two-day postgraduate course that brings together top lecturers in their fields for a weekend of interactive learning. About UEG UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European medical specialist and national societies focusing on digestive health.  Our member societies represent more than 30,000 specialists from every field of gastroenterology. Together, we provide services for all healthcare professionals and researchers, in the broad area of digestive health. The role of UEG is to take concerted efforts to learn more about digestive disease by prevention, research, diagnosis, cure and raising awareness of their importance.  To advance the standards of gastroenterological care and knowledge across the world and to reduce the burden of digestive diseases, UEG offers numerous activities and initiatives, including:
  • UEG Week, the biggest congress of its kind in Europe, and one of the two largest in the world
  • UEG Education, the universal source of knowledge in gastroenterology, providing online and classroom courses, a huge online library and delivering the latest GI news, fostering debate and discussion
  • Activity Grants, promoting and funding educational projects in the field of digestive health to advance and harmonise the training and continuing education of professionals
  • UEG Journal, covering translational and clinical studies from all areas of gastroenterology
  • Public Affairs, promoting research, prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases, and helping develop an effective health policy for Europe
  • Quality of Care, European-based and English clinical practice guidelines, clinical standards, consensus, position papers and standard protocols in the field of digestive health, are available in the repository. 
Find out more about UEG’s work by visiting www.ueg.eu or contact:     Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu  Follow UEG on Twitter References
  1. Bolte, L. et al. 2019. Towards anti-inflammatory dietary recommendations based on the relation between food and the gut microbiome composition in 1423 individuals. Presented at UEG Week Barcelona October 21, 2019.
  2. Valdes, Ana M., et al. "Role of the gut microbiota in nutrition and health." Bmj 361 (2018): k2179.
  3. Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis. 2013. The burden of inflammatory bowel disease in Europe. Available at: https:// www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1873994613000305.
  4. Eurostat. (2019). Overweight and obesity - BMI statistics. Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Overweight_and_obesity_-_BMI_statistics
  5. Cuschieri, S., & Mamo, J. (2016). Getting to grips with the obesity epidemic in Europe. SAGE Open Medicine, 4, 2050312116670406.

UEG Week: Faecal microbiota transplantation is effective in irritable bowel syndrome, but having a ‘super-donor’ is essential

(Barcelona, October 21, 2019) The results of a large, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study have confirmed that faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) using a single ‘super-donor’ is an effective and well tolerated treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), producing high rates of clinical response and marked symptom improvements. The study reported today, which involved a large cohort of patients with various subtypes of IBS, used several enhanced methodologies, and highlighted the importance of donor selection for optimising the effectiveness of FMT as a treatment for IBS. 

Speaking at UEG Week Barcelona 2019, lead investigator, Professor Magdy El-Salhy from Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen, Norway, explained: “Microbiota dysbiosis is thought to play an important role in the pathophysiology of IBS, however, previous studies investigating FMT in this condition have produced conflicting results.  “We set out to optimise our chances of treatment success by selecting a single, well-defined donor* who fulfilled European guidelines for FMT donors, and who had a favourable faecal microbial profile.”  The study randomized 164 individuals with IBS and moderate-to-severe IBS symptoms (Irritable Bowel Syndrome Severity Scoring System [IBS-SSS] ≥175) to receive either placebo (a solution containing their own faeces), a 30 g donor transplant solution, or a 60 g transplant solution. Unlike in previous studies, the transplant material had been stored frozen (–80 °C/–112 °F), and was administered after thawing into the proximal duodenum via gastroscope – obviating the need for bowel preparation prior to transplantation and making it easier to perform in clinical practice. The primary efficacy endpoint of the study was the percentage of patients who achieved a ≥50-point reduction in IBS-SSS at 3 months after FMT (response to treatment).  According to Prof. El-Salhy, a response to FMT treatment was observed in 23.6% of individuals who received placebo, 76.9% of individuals who received a 30 g transplant, and 89.1% of individuals who received a 60 g transplant. Clinically significant symptom improvement [a ≥175-point reduction in IBS-SSS] occurred in 5.5%, 35.2%, and 47.3% of individuals in the placebo, FMT 30 g and FMT 60 g treatment groups, respectively. Significant improvements in fatigue (Fatigue Assessment Scale) and quality of life (IBS-Quality of Life instrument) were also observed in the FMT treatment groups compared with the placebo group. An analysis of faecal bacterial profiles showed changes in the abundance of different bacteria in the two FMT groups, but not in the control group.  “Adverse events after FMT occurred in about 20% of patients and were mild and self-limiting gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhoea or constipation,” said Prof. El-Salhy. “These occurred intermittently in the first 2 days following FMT.”  Prof El-Salhy and colleagues believe this study confirms that FMT is an effective treatment for IBS, but stress the importance of using a super-donor to achieve treatment success. “We got lucky when we found our donor after screening several other candidates, and we hope the selection criteria we used will help other groups find similar individuals,” noted Prof. El-Salhy. “The use of frozen faeces eliminates the logistical problems associated with FMT involving fresh faeces, making it possible to establish bio-banks for the routine use of FMT in clinical practice.”  Notes to Editors *The ‘super-donor’ was an athletic Caucasian male aged 36 years. He was a healthy, non-smoker, with a normal BMI, who trained five times per week. He had been born via vaginal delivery and breast fed; he was not taking any regular medications, had only received three courses of antibiotics during his lifetime, and regularly took dietary supplements rich in proteins, vitamins, fibre, and minerals.  For further information, or to arrange an interview with Professor Magdy El-Salhy, please contact Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or +44 (0) 7732 499170 or by email media@ueg.eu  We kindly ask that a reference to UEG Week 2019 is included when communicating any information within this press release.  About Professor Magdy El-Salhy Professor Magdy El-Salhy is a Professor of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Bergen University, and consultant gastroenterologist at Stord Hospital, Norway  About UEG Week UEG Week is the largest and most prestigious gastroenterology meeting in Europe and has developed into a global congress. It attracts over 14,000 participants each year, from more than 120 countries, and numbers are steadily rising. UEG Week provides a forum for basic and clinical scientists from across the globe to present their latest research in digestive and liver diseases, and also features a two-day postgraduate course that brings together top lecturers in their fields for a weekend of interactive learning. About UEG UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European medical specialist and national societies focusing on digestive health. Our member societies represent more than 30,000 specialists from every field of gastroenterology. Together, we provide services for all healthcare professionals and researchers, in the broad area of digestive health. The role of UEG is to take concerted efforts to learn more about digestive disease by prevention, research, diagnosis, cure and raising awareness of their importance.  To advance the standards of gastroenterological care and knowledge across the world and to reduce the burden of digestive diseases, UEG offers numerous activities and initiatives, including:
  • UEG Week, the biggest congress of its kind in Europe, and one of the two largest in the world
  • UEG Education, the universal source of knowledge in gastroenterology, providing online and classroom courses, a huge online library and delivering the latest GI news, fostering debate and discussion
  • Activity Grants, promoting and funding educational projects in the field of digestive health to advance and harmonise the training and continuing education of professionals
  • UEG Journal, covering translational and clinical studies from all areas of gastroenterology
  • Public Affairs, promoting research, prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases, and helping develop an effective health policy for Europe
  • Quality of Care, European-based and English clinical practice guidelines, clinical standards, consensus, position papers and standard protocols in the field of digestive health, are available in the repository.
Find out more about UEG’s work by visiting www.ueg.eu or contact:     Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu Follow UEG on Twitter  References
  1. El-Salhy M, Haltebakk JG, Gilja OH, et al. Effects of faecal microbiota transplantation in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): a randomised, double-blind placebo-controlled study. Presented at UEG Week October 21, 2019.
  2. Enck P, Mazurak N. Dysbiosis in functional bowel disorders. Ann Nutr Metab. 2018;72(4):296-306.
  3. Johnsen PH, Hilpusch F, Cavanagh JP, et al. Faecal microbiota transplantation versus placebo for moderate-to-severe irritable bowel syndrome: a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, single-centre trial. Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2018;3(1): 17-24.
  4.  Halkjaer SI, Christensen AH, Lo BZS, et al. Faecal microbiota transplantation alters gut microbiota in patients with irritable bowel syndrome: results from a randomised, double-blind placebo-controlled study. Gut. 2018;67(12):2107-15.

Millions of Europeans at risk of chronic digestive diseases, new report reveals

(Vienna, May 21, 2019) Poor nutritional choices, including a high intake of ultra-processed foods and trans-fats, are putting millions of Europeans at an increased risk of a range of chronic digestive diseases, including digestive cancers, wheat related disorders and functional GI disorders, as well as obesity, a new report shows. 

‘Nutrition and Chronic Digestive Diseases’, launched today by United European Gastroenterology (UEG) and supported by twelve medical associations, patient organisations and NGOs, canvasses the opinion of a number of leading experts in the fields of nutrition, digestive cancers, liver diseases, functional gastrointestinal disorders and paediatrics.  The Ultra-processed Food Endemic:
The report outlines how ultra-processed foods, which are often high in fat, added sugar and salt, now frequently contribute to up to half of modern European energy intake and, in some countries, over 75% of mean energy intake.  Consumption of ultra-processed foods has dramatically increased in recent decades, with common examples including soft drinks, confectionary, crisps and frozen ready meals. Studies have shown that the consumption of ultra-processed foods is associated with an increased risk of cancer and suggest that the rapidly increasing consumption of these food types may be driving the growing cancer burden. A 10% increase in the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet, for example, is associated with a 12% increased overall cancer risk.  In addition to a raised risk of chronic diseases, high consumption of these foods also increases the prevalence of obesity. Alarmingly, over half (52%) of the EU’s population aged 18 and over is now overweight or obese and 1 in 3 of Europe’s school children are estimated to be overweight. “Obesity, often driven by poor nutritional choices, increases the risk of a range of serious digestive health conditions and causes a significant healthcare burden, high societal costs, misery for patients and, ultimately, shortens lives”, explains Professor Markus Peck, Department of Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology at Klinikum Klagenfurt am Wörthersee, Austria. “Healthy balanced diets and lifestyles can help prevent chronic digestive diseases but the difficulty we face is ensuring our citizens make the right choices in following these lifestyles.” An Action Plan for Europe:
The report makes a number of recommendations in order to reduce the risk and impact of chronic digestive diseases, including: 
  • Less than 10% (<50 grams), but ideally 5%, of total daily energy intake of sugar
  • Less than 10% of total daily energy intake of saturated fats
  • Less than 1% of total daily energy intake of trans-fats
  • Less than 5g of salt per day
“We need the European Commission and national governments to act now on initiatives to change the way in which we buy and consume food”, states Professor Peck. “Our aim should be to achieve a European-wide transformation to healthy diets by 2050. This would require the consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes to double, and consumption of foods such as red meat and sugar to be reduced by more than 50% over the next 30 years.”  “If we are to fight the burgeoning prevalence of overweight, obese and unhealthy people in Europe, and the healthcare burden and loss of life that it brings, then we must act now”, concludes Professor Peck.  

% Adult Obesity Rates in Europe (*self-report data)

Country

Male Obesity %

Female Obesity %

Malta

36.9

31.3

Romania

29.4

34.1

Greece

27.9

25.6

England

27.4

30

Cyprus

27

28.8

Scotland

27

30

Ireland (Northern)

26

27

Ireland (Republic)

25.8

21.3

Portugal

25.5

32

Italy

24.5

24.9

Poland

24.2

23.4

Luxembourg

24.1

21

Czech Republic

23.9

22.3

Germany

23.3

23.9

Spain

22.8

20.5

Hungary*

22

20.4

Wales*

22

23

Slovenia *

21

17.4

Croatia

20.7

16.8

Finland

20.4

19

Estonia*

19.1

21.5

Latvia*

18.8

23.3

Slovakia

18.1

15.9

France

16.8

17.4

Sweden

15.5

14.4

Denmark *

14.1

15.6

Belgium

13.9

14.2

Austria

13.4

10.7

Bulgaria

13.4

19.2

Lithuania

11.3

15.2

Netherlands

10.4

10.1

  

% Childhood Overweight Rates in Europe (*self-report data)

Country

Male Overweight %

Female Overweight %

Malta

43.2

38.7

Croatia

38.7

31

Italy

37.2

34.7

Spain

32.3

29.5

Cyprus

31.5

25.6

Greece

31

29.1

Portugal

30.9

32

Bulgaria

30.4

28.3

Denmark*

29.3

21.1

England

28.6

29

Ireland (Northern)

28

25

Austria

28

25.9

Slovenia*

27.4

22.7

Wales*

27.1

27

Latvia*

25

21

Romania

24.6

22.6

Germany

24.2

23.8

Scotland

24

29

Finland

23.8

20.1

Czech Republic

23

20

Luxembourg

23

22

Slovakia

22.6

20.7

Sweden

22.6

21.2

Lithuania

21.4

19.9

Hungary*

21.4

23.7

Poland

20.8

14.4

Belgium

16.9

13.5

Netherlands

16.8

15.4

Ireland (Republic)

16

19

France

14.4

18.7

Estonia*

13.6

14.9

Notes to Editors For further information, or to arrange an expert interview, please contact Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu About the Report Access ‘Nutrition and Chronic Digestive Diseases: An Action Plan for Europe’ The report was produced by UEG, with support and endorsement from:
  • The Association of European Coeliac Societies (AOECS)
  • Digestive Cancers Europe (DiCE)
  • The European Association for Gastroenterology, Endoscopy and Nutrition (EAGEN)
  • The European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL)
  • The European Cancer Organisation (ECCO)
  • The European Federation of Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis Associations (EFCCA)
  • The European Helicobacter and Microbiota Study Group (EHMSG)
  • The European Society of Digestive Oncology (ESDO)
  • The European Society of Neurogastroenterology and Motility (ESNM)
  • The European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism (ESPEN)
  • The European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN)
  • The World Gastroenterology Organisation (WGO)
About Professor Markus Peck
Professor Markus Peck is the Chairman at the Department of Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology (IMuG) at Klinikum Klagenfurt am Wörthersee in Klagenfurt, Austria. He is the Chair of the UEG Public Affairs Committee. About UEG UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European medical specialist and national societies focusing on digestive health. Together, its member societies represent over 30,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge. To advance the standards of gastroenterological care and knowledge across the world and to reduce the burden of digestive diseases, UEG offers numerous activities and initiatives, including:
  • UEG Week, the biggest congress of its kind in Europe, and one of the two largest in the world
  • UEG Education, the universal source of knowledge in gastroenterology, providing online and classroom courses, a huge online library and delivering the latest GI news, fostering debate and discussion
  • Activity Grants, promoting and funding educational projects in the field of digestive health to advance and harmonise the training and continuing education of professionals
  • UEG Journal, covering translational and clinical studies from all areas of gastroenterology
  • Public Affairs, promoting research, prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases, and helping develop an effective health policy for Europe
  • Quality of Care, European-based and English clinical practice guidelines, clinical standards, consensus, position papers and standard protocols in the field of digestive health, are available in the repository. 
Find out more about UEG’s work by visiting www.ueg.eu or contact:               Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu

UEG Week: Microplastics discovered in human stools across the globe in ‘first study of its kind’

(Vienna, October 23, 2018) Microplastics have been found in the human food chain as particles made of polypropylene (PP), polyethylene-terephthalate (PET) and others were detected in human stools, research presented today at the 26th UEG Week in Vienna reveals.

Researchers from the Medical University of Vienna and the Environment Agency Austria monitored a group of participants from countries across the world, including Finland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, the UK and Austria. The results show that every single stool sample tested positive for the presence of microplastic and up to nine different plastic types were identified. Microplastics are small particles of plastic less than 5mm and are used in various products for specific purposes; as well as being created unintentionally by the breaking down of larger pieces of plastic through weathering, degradation, wear and tear. Microplastic may impact human health via the GI tract where it could affect the tolerance and immune response of the gut by bioaccumulation or aiding transmission of toxic chemicals and pathogens. The pilot study was conducted with eight participants from across the globe. Each person kept a food diary in the week leading up to their stool sampling. The diaries showed that all participants were exposed to plastics by consuming plastic wrapped foods or drinking from plastic bottles. None of the participants were vegetarians and six of them consumed sea fish. The stools were tested at the Environment Agency Austria for 10 types of plastics following a newly developed analytical procedure. Up to nine different plastics, sized between 50 and 500 micrometres, were found, with polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) being the most common. On average, the researchers found 20 microplastic particles per 10g of stool. Lead researcher Dr. Philipp Schwabl, who is presenting the findings at the 26th UEG Week, commented: “This is the first study of its kind and confirms what we have long suspected, that plastics ultimately reach the human gut. Of particular concern is what this means to us, and especially patients with gastrointestinal diseases. While the highest plastic concentrations in animal studies have been found in the gut, the smallest microplastic particles are capable of entering the blood stream, lymphatic system and may even reach the liver. Now that we have first evidence for microplastics inside humans, we need further research to understand what this means for human health.” Global plastics production has increased substantially from the 1950s and continues to grow every year. For their many practical characteristics, plastics are pervasive in everyday life and humans are exposed to plastics in numerous ways. It is estimated that, through pollution, 2-5 % of all plastics produced end up in the seas. Once in the ocean, plastics are consumed by sea animals and enter the food chain where ultimately, they are likely to be consumed by humans. Significant amounts of microplastic have been detected in tuna, lobster and shrimp. Beyond that it is highly likely that during various steps of food processing or as a result of packaging food is being contaminated with plastics. Notes to Editors For further information, or to arrange an interview with Dr Philipp Schwabl, please contact Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu About Dr. Philipp Schwabl Dr. Philipp Schwabl is a researcher and physician scientist at the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Medical University of Vienna, in the research team of Prof. Dr. Thomas Reiberger, and presenting this study at the UEG Week Vienna 2018. About Dr. Bettina Liebmann Dr. Bettina Liebmann is a consultant on environmental analyses and respected expert on microplastics at the Environment Agency Austria. She guides the method development for microplastic analysis by micro FT-IR spectroscopy and imaging and works on microplastic projects at both national and international level. About Umweltbundesamt – Environment Agency Austria The Environment Agency Austria is the most important national environmental expert organisation and one of Europe´s leading environmental consultants. Since 2007, the organisation has been operating an accredited human biomonitoring laboratory where blood, urine, tissue etc. are analyzed for a variety of environmental contaminants. Furthermore, the Environment Agency Austria is an international pioneer in the analysis of microplastics.  About UEG Week UEG Week is the largest and most prestigious gastroenterology meeting in Europe and has developed into a global congress. It attracts over 14,000 participants each year, from more than 120 countries, and numbers are steadily rising. UEG Week provides a forum for basic and clinical scientists from across the globe to present their latest research in digestive and liver diseases, and also features a two-day postgraduate course that brings together top lecturers in their fields for a weekend of interactive learning. About UEG UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European societies concerned with digestive diseases. Together, its member societies represent over 22,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge. To advance standards of gastroenterological care and knowledge across Europe and the world, UEG offers numerous activities and initiatives, including: 
  • UEG Education, the universal source of knowledge in gastroenterology, providing online and classroom courses, a huge online library and delivering the latest GI news, fostering debate and discussion
  • Activity Grants, promoting and funding educational projects in the field of digestive health to advance and harmonise the training and continuing education of professionals
  • UEG Journal, published bi-monthly, covering translational and clinical studies from all areas of gastroenterology
  • EU Affairs, promoting research, prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases, and helping develop an effective health policy for Europe
  • Quality of Care, European-based and English clinical practice guidelines, clinical standards, consensus, position papers and standard protocols in the field of digestive health, are available in the repository
Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu Find out more about UEG’s work by visiting www.ueg.eu or contact:         Follow UEG on Twitter References
  • Schwabl, P. et al (2018), Assessment of microplastic concentrations in human stool – Preliminary results of a prospective study, Presented at UEG Week 2018 Vienna, October 24, 2018.
  • European Chemicals Agency. 2018. Microplastics. [ONLINE] Available at: https://echa.europa.eu/hot-topics/microplastics. [Accessed 21 August 2018].
  • Hohenblum P., Liebmann B., Liedermann M. (2015): Plastic and Microplastic in the Environment. Environment Agency Austria, Vienna. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.umweltbundesamt.at/fileadmin/site/publikationen/REP0551.pdf
  • Powell JJ, Thoree V, Pele LC. Dietary microparticles and their impact on tolerance and immune responsiveness of the gastrointestinal tract. The British journal of nutrition. 2007;98 Suppl 1:S59-63.
  • Geyer, Roland, Jenna R. Jambeck, and Kara Lavender Law. "Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made." Science advances 3.7 (2017): e1700782.
  • Romeo T, Pietro B, Peda C, Consoli P, Andaloro F, Fossi MC. First evidence of presence of plastic debris in stomach of large pelagic fish in the Mediterranean Sea. Marine pollution bulletin. 2015;95(1):358-361.
  • Murray F, Cowie PR. Plastic contamination in the decapod crustacean Nephrops norvegicus (Linnaeus, 1758). Marine pollution bulletin. 2011;62(6):1207-1217.
  • Devriese LI, van der Meulen MD, Maes T, et al. Microplastic contamination in brown shrimp (Crangon crangon, Linnaeus 1758) from coastal waters of the Southern North Sea and Channel area. Marine pollution bulletin. 2015;98(1-2):179-187.

UEG Week: Long-term aspirin use reduces the incidence of digestive cancers by up to 47%

(Barcelona, October 31, 2017) The long-term use of aspirin has been shown to significantly reduce the incidence of digestive cancers, new research presented today at the 25th UEG Week has found. 

In a study involving over 600,000 people, researchers compared patients who were prescribed aspirin over a long period (for at least six months, average duration of aspirin prescribed was 7.7 years) with non-aspirin users and assessed the incidences of a number of cancers. Those prescribed with aspirin showed a 47% reduction in liver and oesophageal cancer incidence, a 38% reduction in gastric cancer incidence, a 34% reduction in pancreatic cancer incidence and a 24% reduction in colorectal cancer incidence. Digestive cancers account for almost a quarter of cancer cases in Europe. Colorectal, gastric and pancreatic cancer are within the top five cancer killers throughout the continent, with digestive cancers representing 30.1% of cancer deaths.  The effect of long-term use of aspirin on cancer incidence was also examined for cancers outside of the digestive system. Here, a significant reduction was shown for some (leukaemia, lung and prostate) but not all (breast, bladder, kidney and multiple myeloma) cancers.  Aspirin is used across the globe to treat a number of health conditions, ranging from short-term pain relief to long-term prescriptions. Whilst the use of aspirin is subject to debate within the medical community, a recent study found that patients who stopped taking aspirin were 37% more likely to have an adverse cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack or stroke, than those who continued with their prescription. Lead researcher, Professor Kelvin Tsoi from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, presented the study today at the 25th UEG Week in Barcelona. “The findings demonstrate that the long-term use of aspirin can reduce the risk of developing many major cancers” commented Professor Tsoi. “What should be noted is the significance of the results for cancers within the digestive tract, where the reductions in cancer incidence were all very substantial, especially for liver and oesophageal cancer.” Access the press release in Spanish References 
  1. Tsoi, K. et al. Long-term use of aspirin is more effective to reduce the incidences of gastrointestinal cancers than non-gastrointestinal cancers: A 10-year population based study in Hong Kong. Presented at UEG Week Barcelona 2017.
  2. GLOBOCAN, IARC (2012). Section of Cancer Surveillance.
  3. Stopping aspirin treatment raises cardiovascular risk by over a third (2017). Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319541.php
Notes to Editors For further information, or to arrange an interview with Professor Kelvin Tsoi, please contact Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu About Professor Kelvin Tsoi Professor Kelvin Tsoi is a research associate Professor of the Stanley Ho Big Data Decision Analytics Research Centre, and an associate Professor of the School of Public Health and Primary Care in the Chinese University Hong Kong. He is a digital epidemiologist and his research interests are in cancer epidemiology and big data research on digital health.    About UEG Week UEG Week is the largest and most prestigious gastroenterology meeting in Europe and has developed into a global congress. It attracts over 14,000 participants each year, from more than 120 countries, and numbers are steadily rising. UEG Week provides a forum for basic and clinical scientists from across the globe to present their latest research in digestive and liver diseases, and also features a two-day postgraduate course that brings together top lecturers in their fields for a weekend of interactive learning. About UEG UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European societies concerned with digestive diseases. Together, its member societies represent over 22,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge. To advance standards of gastroenterological care and knowledge across Europe and the world, UEG offers numerous activities and initiatives, including:  
  • 25th UEG Week, celebrate with us at our jubilee meeting, the biggest congress of its kind in Europe, and one of the two largest in the world
  • UEG Education, the universal source of knowledge in gastroenterology, providing online and classroom courses, a huge online library and delivering the latest GI news, fostering debate and discussion
  • Activity Grants, funding Live Educational Events, Online Courses and Standards & Guidelines Initiatives organised by UEG Member Societies and other providers.
  • UEG Journal, 10 issues per year covering translational and clinical studies from all areas of gastroenterology
  • EU Affairs, united for digestive health in Europe – prioritising Gastroenterology on the EU health agenda
Find out more about UEG’s work by visiting www.ueg.eu or contact Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu Follow UEG on Twitter

UEG Week: New study links protein in wheat to the inflammation of chronic health conditions 

(Vienna, October 17, 2016) Scientists have discovered that a protein in wheat triggers the inflammation of chronic health conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis, and also contributes towards the development of non-coeliac gluten sensitivity. 

With past studies commonly focusing on gluten and its impact on digestive health, this new research, presented at UEG Week 2016, turns the spotlight onto a different family of proteins found in wheat called amylase-trypsin inhibitors (ATIs). The study shows that the consumption of ATIs can lead to the development of inflammation in tissues beyond the gut, including the lymph nodes, kidneys, spleen and brain. Evidence suggests that ATIs can worsen the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, asthma, lupus and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, as well as inflammatory bowel disease.

As well as contributing to the development of bowel-related inflammatory conditions, we believe that ATIs can promote inflammation of other immune-related chronic conditions outside of the bowel.

ATIs make up no more than 4% of wheat proteins, but can trigger powerful immune reactions in the gut that can spread to other tissues in the body. Lead researcher, Professor Detlef Schuppan from the Johannes Gutenberg University, Germany, explains, “As well as contributing to the development of bowel-related inflammatory conditions, we believe that ATIs can promote inflammation of other immune-related chronic conditions outside of the bowel. The type of gut inflammation seen in non-coeliac gluten sensitivity differs from that caused by coeliac disease, and we do not believe that this is triggered by gluten proteins. Instead, we demonstrated that ATIs from wheat, that are also contaminating commercial gluten, activate specific types of immune cells in the gut and other tissues, thereby potentially worsening the symptoms of pre-existing inflammatory illnesses”.

Clinical studies are now due to commence to explore the role that ATIs play on chronic health conditions in more detail. “We are hoping that this research can lead us towards being able to recommend an ATI-free diet to help treat a variety of potentially serious immunological disorders” adds Professor Schuppan.

ATIs and Non-Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity

Further to inflaming chronic health conditions outside of the bowel, ATIs may contribute to the development on non-coeliac gluten sensitivity. This condition is now an accepted medical diagnosis for people who do not have coeliac disease but benefit from a gluten free diet. Intestinal symptoms, such as abdominal pain and irregular bowel movements, are frequently reported, which can make it difficult to distinguish from IBS. However, extraintestinal symptoms can assist with diagnosis, which include headaches, joint pain and eczema. These symptoms typically appear after the consumption of gluten-containing food and improve rapidly on a gluten-free diet. Yet, gluten does not appear to cause the condition.

Professor Schuppan hopes that the research will also help to redefine non-coeliac gluten sensitivity to a more appropriate term. He explains, “Rather than non-coeliac gluten sensitivity, which implies that gluten solitarily causes the inflammation, a more precise name for the disease should be considered.”

Access the release in German (PDF)
Access the release in English (PDF)

References 

1.    Zevallos V, Weinmann-Menke J, Meineck M et al. Alpha-amylase/trypsin inhibitors (ATIs) accelerate murine systemic lupus erythematosus. Poster presentation at the 16th International Coeliac Disease Symposium, 21–24 June 2015, Prague, Czech Republic. Poster P168.

2.    Zevallos V, Yogev N, Nikolaev A et al. Consumption of wheat alpha-amylase/trypsin inhibitors (ATIs) enhances experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in mice. Oral presentation at the 16th International Coeliac Disease Symposium, 21–24 June 2015, Prague, Czech Republic.

3.    Junker Y, Zeissig S, Kim S-J et al. Wheat amylase trypsin inhibitors drive intestinal inflammation via activation of toll-like receptor 4. J Exp Med 2012;209(13):2395-408.

4.    Fasano A, Sapone A, Zevallos V et al. Nonceliac gluten and wheat sensitivity. Gastroenterology 2015;148(6):1195-204.

5.    Schuppan D, Pickert G, Ashfaq-Khan M et al. Non-celiac wheat sensitivity: Differential diagnosis, triggers and implications. Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol 2015;29(3):469–76.

Notes to Editors

For further information, or to arrange an interview with Professor Detlef Schuppan, please contact Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu

About Professor Detlef Schuppan

Professor Schuppan is from the Institute of Translational Immunology at Mainz University Medical Centre, Germany. Professor Schuppan is an international expert in the fields of fibrosis and coeliac research and is presenting his findings at the Opening Plenary Session at UEG Week Vienna 2016. 

About Professor Antonio Gasbarrini (UEG Spokesperson)

Professor Gasbarrini is a member of the UEG Scientific Committee from the Gemelli University Hospital in Rome, Italy.

About UEG Week

UEG Week is the largest and most prestigious gastroenterology meeting in Europe and has developed into a global congress, attracting up to 13,000 participants from 116 countries. UEG Week provides a forum for basic and clinical scientists from across the globe to present their latest research in digestive and liver diseases, and also features a two-day postgraduate course that brings together top lecturers in their fields for a weekend of interactive learning.

About UEG

UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European societies concerned with digestive diseases. Together, its member societies represent over 22,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge.

To advance standards of gastroenterological care and knowledge across Europe and the world, UEG offers numerous activities and initiatives, including: 

  • UEG Week, the biggest congress of its kind in Europe, and one of the two largest in the world.
  • UEG Education, the universal source of knowledge in gastroenterology, providing online and classroom courses, a huge online library and delivering the latest GI news, fostering debate and discussion
  • Training Support, funding for innovative training and educational programmes, as well as international scientific and professional co-operations
  • UEG Journal, published bi-monthly, covering translational and clinical studies from all areas of gastroenterology
  • EU Affairs, promoting research, prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases, and helping develop an effective health policy for Europe

Find out more about UEG’s work by visiting www.ueg.eu or contact:           

Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu

 Follow UEG on Twitter

Children’s digestive health across Europe in crisis

(Brussels, 31 May, 2016) A report investigating the current state of digestive health in children has revealed alarming trends in disease incidence and inequalities in the provision of digestive healthcare services for children across Europe. 

‘Paediatric Digestive Health Across Europe’, commissioned by United European Gastroenterology (UEG), is published today and highlights how the current health burden and economic pressure of paediatric digestive health issues, in particular the increasing levels of childhood obesity, have become a pandemic issue throughout the continent.  The report canvasses the opinion of a number of paediatric GI specialists, including experts from UEG and current and past presidents of the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN), who highlight three particular areas of digestive health that show worrying trends and require urgent action. These include:  
  • In 46 European countries, one in every three children aged 6-9 years is now overweight or obese
  • Childhood onset of inflammatory bowel disease now accounts for 20-30% of all IBD cases
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease has become the most common cause of chronic liver disease among children and adolescents in Western countries, with cases documented in children as young as 3 years old
Commenting on the current state of paediatric digestive health care in Europe, Professor Michael Manns, President of UEG, explains; “Across Europe we have leading paediatric experts and many centres of excellence. However, these are not widespread and currently cannot meet the needs of children throughout the continent. This has an impact on not just individuals and their families but on society and wider health service provision”. A call for change across Europe One of the main findings in the report is that many areas of digestive health follow a ‘one size fits all’ approach with many children following adult care pathways. Professor Berthold Koletzko, President of ESPGHAN, comments; “It is important for stakeholders and policy makers to appreciate that children have complex physical, psychological and social needs and these must be met by trained paediatric specialists to improve the accessibility of optimal care for children today and in future generations”. The report calls for urgent attention and resource investment in paediatric digestive health treatments and services to improve the prognosis for children who suffer from varying digestive health conditions.  A 6 point action plan, targeting key policy makers, stakeholders and health service providers, is outlined within the report to help encourage and deliver change and improve paediatric care across Europe. The 6 key actions are:  
  1. Further development of national strategies and public health campaigns for education, prevention and early intervention
  2. Improve and harmonise training standards through the development of a pan-European digestive health syllabus
  3. Enhance paediatric subspecialty training to understand the complex physical, psychological and social needs of children
  4. Develop transition services as patients move from teenage to adult care
  5. Encourage further research into childhood digestive diseases and early life programming to enable improved prevention strategies
  6. Further development of specialised centres for the optimal management of children with digestive diseases
The report will be issued to European policy makers today at the European Parliament, who will meet with leading health experts to discuss the latest research and areas for development examined in the review. The report is unveiled as part of UEG’s Digestive Health Month to raise awareness of digestive health issues across the continent. “In spite of 20% of the European population being children and the incidence of gastrointestinal diseases increasing, it is extremely worrying that only 1 out of 58 topics currently receiving EU research funding is focused on paediatric health” explains Professor Koletzko. “Priorities need to change quickly to appreciate the specific issues of paediatric digestive provision and ensure greater investment into prevention, cost-effective diagnostic measures and harmonised training”. Professor Manns adds; “UEG hope this report will encourage policy makers, stakeholders and health service providers to adopt the recommendations and prioritise the development of specific paediatric focused strategies for improving the digestive health of children today and for future generations”.

Access the report

Notes to Editors About UEG UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European societies concerned with digestive diseases. Together, its member societies represent over 22,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge. Find out more by visiting www.ueg.eu To advance standards of gastroenterological care and knowledge across Europe and the world, UEG offers numerous activities and initiatives, including: 
  • UEG Week, the biggest congress of its kind in Europe, and one of the two largest in the world. 
  • NOW OPEN FOR PRESS REGISTRATION
  • UEG Education, the universal source of knowledge in gastroenterology, providing online and classroom courses, a huge online library and delivering the latest GI news, fostering debate and discussion
  • Training Support, funding for innovative training and educational programmes, as well as international scientific and professional co-operations
  • UEG Journal, published bi-monthly, covering translational and clinical studies from all areas of gastroenterology
  • EU Affairs, promoting research, prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases, and helping develop an effective health policy for Europe
About the Report Commissioned by UEG, Paediatric Digestive Health Across Europe, is a report that highlights the current levels of quality in paediatric digestive health throughout Europe, the current state of service provision and the potential impact on longer-term health outcomes and economies. The opinions of leading gastroenterologists and patient organisations have been utilised to help identify priority areas for improvement both now and in the future. Other key trends raised in the report include: 
  • It is predicted that the global number of children under five who are overweight will rise from the current 41 million to 70 million by 2025
  • The high cost of treating obesity and related disorders now represents up to 10% of total healthcare costs and threatens the sustainability of public healthcare systems across Europe
  • Delays in diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease are taking up to 5 years for 18% of under 18’s
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease prevalence continues to rise among paediatric patients, affecting up to 10% of Europe’s paediatric population
UEG Digestive Health Month The first UEG Digestive Health month, organised by United European Gastroenterology (UEG), has taken place throughout May. Held to raise awareness of digestive health conditions in Europe and highlight opportunities to help advance the treatment and prevention of related diseases, activity has featured on social media via the hashtag #DigestiveHealthMonth Contact Information For further information about the report and UEG’s activities, or to speak to a paediatric digestive health expert please contact Luke Paskins at UEG on +44 (0)1444 811099 or email media@ueg.eu References 
  1. http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/disease-prevention/nutrition/policy
  2. United European Gastroenterology Journal: (1) Farthing M, Roberts S, Samuel D, Williams D, et al, Survey of digestive health across Europe: Final report. Part 1: The burden of gastrointestinal diseases and the organisation and delivery of gastroenterology services across Europe, 2014 2: 539-543
  3. Day CP. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: a massive problem. Clin Med. 2011; 11:176-178
  4. 1000 Days: http://thousanddays.org/the-issue/obesity/
  5. Early Nutrition Project: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/lsm/research/divisions/wh/newsevents/newsarchive/earlynutritionfactsheet.pdf
  6. B. Wilson, S. Lönnfors, S. Vermeire. The true impact of IBD: a European Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis patient life. IMPACT Survey 2010-2011 http://efcca.org/media/files/press-Join-Fight/3PRESS_KIT_IBD_IMPACT_REPORT_BCN.pdf
  7. http://www.childliverdisease.org/News/Research-funded-by-Birmingham-charity-identifies-genetic-variant-in-childhood-liver-disease-

UEG Week: Increased risk of large bowel cancer for each 1 cm rise in waist circumference

(Barcelona, October 26, 2015) Experts speaking at the 23rd United European Gastroenterology Week (UEG Week 2015) in Barcelona, Spain today revealed compelling evidence of the link between excess body weight and risk of colorectal cancer (CRC). John Mathers, Professor of Human Nutrition from the Institute of Cellular Medicine at Newcastle University in the UK presented data showing an overall increase of 18% in relative risk of CRC per 5 unit increase in BMI.

“In addition, in men, there is now evidence that increasing waist circumference in middle age is associated with increased bowel cancer risk”, says Prof. Mathers. CRC risk was increased by nearly 60% in men who gained at least 10 cm in waist circumference over 10 years. “This increased cancer risk may be due to persistent inflammation in people with obesity”.

Patients with Lynch Syndrome (LS) have a higher than normal risk of CRC because of an inherited defect in one of the genes responsible for repairing DNA. Prof. Mathers presented new data showing that, in people with Lynch Syndrome, CRC risk increases with higher body weight and for those who are obese the risk of CRC is doubled. Quite surprisingly, the increase in CRC risk with higher body weight in people with Lynch Syndrome was about twice as great as that seen in the general population.

Prof. Mathers said “There is now compelling evidence that improved lifestyle, particularly better dietary choices and being more physically active, can help to prevent obesity and this will lower bowel cancer risk”. In addition, for those people who are already too heavy, losing weight may reduce their CRC risk but this is an area which requires further study. In his studies with Lynch Syndrome patients, Prof. Mathers observed that aspirin lowered the excess CRC risk seen in patients with obesity, perhaps through its anti-inflammatory effects. “This is a very intriguing finding” said Prof Mathers “which suggests that dietary and other anti-inflammatory agents might be beneficial in reducing CRC risk in people with obesity”.

“Bowel cancer is strongly associated with age, obesity and diet – and is driven by inflammation”, explains Prof. Mathers. “We can now give the public clear advice on the benefits of staying physically active, eating a healthy diet and avoiding weight gain to lower CRC risk as we get older”.   Notes to Editors  For further information, or to arrange an interview with Professor Barbara, please contact Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu About UEG Week UEG Week is the largest and most prestigious gastroenterology meeting in Europe and has developed into a global congress. It attracts over 14,000 participants each year, from more than 120 countries, and numbers are steadily rising. UEG Week provides a forum for basic and clinical scientists from across the globe to present their latest research in digestive and liver diseases, and also features a two-day postgraduate course that brings together top lecturers in their fields for a weekend of interactive learning. About UEG UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European societies concerned with digestive diseases. Together, its member societies represent over 22,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge. To advance standards of gastroenterological care and knowledge across Europe and the world, UEG offers numerous activities and initiatives, including: 
  • UEG Week, the biggest congress of its kind in Europe, and one of the two largest in the world.
  • UEG Education, the universal source of knowledge in gastroenterology, providing online and classroom courses, a huge online library and delivering the latest GI news, fostering debate and discussion
  • Training Support, funding for innovative training and educational programmes, as well as international scientific and professional co-operations
  • UEG Journal, published bi-monthly, covering translational and clinical studies from all areas of gastroenterology
  • EU Affairs, promoting research, prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases, and helping develop an effective health policy for Europe 
Find out more about UEG’s work by visiting www.ueg.eu or contact: Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu Follow UEG on Twitter @UEGMedia References 1. Ning Y et al. (2012) Obesity Reviews 11, 19-30 
2. Song M et al. (2015) Int. J. Epidemiol. PMID: 26403814 
3. Movahedi M et al. (2015) J. Clin. Oncol. PMID: 26282643

UEG Week: Obesity and excessive weight gain during pregnancy increase risk of obesity in childhood

(Barcelona, October 26, 2015) Overweight and obese women who gain excessive weight during pregnancy may be putting their babies at risk of a lifetime of obesity. Today, experts from United European Gastroenterology are calling for women of childbearing age to aim to maintain a normal body weight, and for expectant mothers to stay physically active and consume a balanced diet to avoid permanent damage to their child’s health.

Speaking at the 23rd United European Gastroenterology Week (UEG Week 2015) in Barcelona, Spain, Professor Berthold Koletzko from Hauner Children’s Hospital at the University of Munich, Germany, explains that evidence is mounting that excessive weight gain as well as early nutrition play a vital role in many aspects of future health. “We know that a sedentary lifestyle and poor diet in pregnancy increase the risk of children becoming overweight and obese, but we now also think that babies in the womb can have their genetic make-up permanently altered depending on the mother’s diet”, he said. Childhood obesity epidemic The incidence of obesity among children is rising at an alarming rate. According to the World Health Organisation, between 1990 and 2013, the number of obese children aged less than 6 years increased from 32 million to 44 million globally – an increase of almost 40%. If current trends continue, by 2025, it has been estimated there will be 70 million obese young children worldwide. Many factors contribute to the development of obesity in childhood, including the child’s genetic make-up, the consumption of energy-dense, high-fat, high-sugar and high-salt foods, and a lack of physical activity. Studies have also suggested that overweight and obese women at the time when they become pregnant are much more likely to have fatter children than those who are not overweight before or during pregnancy. According to Prof. Koletzko, exposure of the unborn child to an excess of fuels such as glucose and fatty acids may cause permanent metabolic reprogramming in the child that leads to life-long obesity after birth. “Perhaps even more worryingly, these metabolic and epigenetic changes can be passed from generation to generation, which has major public health implications,” he said. Lifestyle during pregnancy and optimized infant feeding Maintaining physical activity and following a balanced diet with limited sugar and saturated fat during pregnancy can be effective in reducing a very high birth weight of babies, a key risk factor for obesity in later life. After birth, improved infant feeding is an effective tool for obesity prevention. In a large controlled study including children in five European countries, Prof. Koletzko and his team demonstrated that an improved infant formula, with lowered protein content - more similar to the protein level in breast milk – lowered the rate of obesity at the early age of 2 by 9 fold, as compared to conventional protein-rich bottle milk. He comments “These results demonstrate that improving nutrition and lifestyle during the first 1,000 days of life, including pregnancy and the first two years of childhood, provide enormous opportunity for improving lifelong health and well-being”. The Early Nutrition Project Prof. Koletzko and researchers from 12 European countries, the USA and Australia have launched the Early Nutrition Project (http://www.project-earlynutrition.eu/eneu/) to study how early nutritional programming and lifestyle factors impact the rates of obesity and related disorders, with a budget of more than 11 million Euros. “We believe that if we can understand how metabolic reprogramming in early life alters an individual’s susceptibility to becoming overweight, we might be able to intervene to prevent or even reverse the process,” he said. Access this press release in Spanish Notes to Editors  For further information, or to arrange an interview with Professor Gasbarrini, please contact Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu About UEG Week UEG Week is the largest and most prestigious gastroenterology meeting in Europe and has developed into a global congress. It attracts over 14,000 participants each year, from more than 120 countries, and numbers are steadily rising. UEG Week provides a forum for basic and clinical scientists from across the globe to present their latest research in digestive and liver diseases, and also features a two-day postgraduate course that brings together top lecturers in their fields for a weekend of interactive learning. About UEG UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European societies concerned with digestive diseases. Together, its member societies represent over 22,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge. To advance standards of gastroenterological care and knowledge across Europe and the world, UEG offers numerous activities and initiatives, including: 
  • UEG Week, the biggest congress of its kind in Europe, and one of the two largest in the world.
  • UEG Education, the universal source of knowledge in gastroenterology, providing online and classroom courses, a huge online library and delivering the latest GI news, fostering debate and discussion
  • Training Support, funding for innovative training and educational programmes, as well as international scientific and professional co-operations
  • UEG Journal, published bi-monthly, covering translational and clinical studies from all areas of gastroenterology
  • EU Affairs, promoting research, prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases, and helping develop an effective health policy for Europe 
Find out more about UEG’s work by visiting www.ueg.eu or contact: Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu Follow UEG on Twitter @UEGMedia References 1. Koletzko B, Brands B, Chourdakis M, Cramer S, Grote V, Hellmuth C, et al. The Power of Programming and The Early Nutrition Project: opportunities for health promotion by nutrition during the first thousand days of life and beyond. Ann Nutr Metab 2014;64:141–50. 2. Oddy WH, Mori TA, Huang RC, Marsh J, Pennell C, Jacoby P, et al. Early infant feeding and adiposity risk: from infancy to adulthood. Ann Nutr Metab. 2014;64:215–23. 3. Koletzko B, Chourdakis M, Grote H, Hellmuth C, Prell C, Rzehak P, et al. Regulation of early human growth: impact on long-term health. Ann Nutr Metab. 2014;64:141–50. 4. Koletzko B, Bauer CP, Bung P, Cremer M, Flothkotter M, Hellmers C, et al. German national consensus recommendations on nutrition and lifestyle in pregnancy by the 'Healthy Start - Young Family Network'. Ann Nutr Metab. 2013;63(4):311-22. PubMed PMID: 24514069. Epub 2014/02/12. eng. 5. Dodd JM, Turnbull D, McPhee AJ, Deussen AR, Grivell RM, Yelland LN, et al. Antenatal lifestyle advice for women who are overweight or obese: LIMIT randomised trial. BMJ. 2014;348:g1285. PubMed PMID: 24513442. Pubmed Central PMCID: 3919179. Epub 2014/02/12. eng. 6. Schellong K, Schulz S, Harder T, Plagemann A. Birth weight and long-term overweight risk: systematic review and a meta-analysis including 643,902 persons from 66 studies and 26 countries globally. PLoS One. 2012;7(10):e47776. PubMed PMID: 23082214. Pubmed Central PMCID: 3474767.
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