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Canadian Digestive Health Foundation Releases Prevalence & Impact Study

reveals significant costs and reduced quality of life associated with disgestive disorders


By, Heather Stern

The Canadian Digestive Health Foundation recently presented the findings of its National Digestive Disorders Prevalence & Impact Study Report, bringing together government officials, association heads, national foundations and leading physicians to establish Digestive Health as a nation-wide priority. They stressed the need to break the silence and stigma surrounding digestive disorders and instead, focus on future health breakthroughs. Through this first annual meeting, they highlighted the substantial socioeconomic burden that digestive disorders have on Canadian business, healthcare and individuals, as well as the rising numbers of citizens affected.

All major areas of digestive disorders were examined including important findings within gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), liver disease, colon cancer, and of course celiac disease. The study found staggering numbers, approximately 20 million people in Canada, are affected by digestive disorders resulting in over 18million sick days, 10% of hospitalization costs and an astounding $18 billion annual through loss of productivity and health care costs. Celiac disease prevalence alone has nearly doubled in the last 25 years within Western countries, and Canada alone has over 330,000 people diagnosed.

We too have reason to call for action in the digestive health field. As of 1996, the NDDIC states that 60 to 70 million people in the U.S. were affected with digestive diseases. 14 million hospitalizations were estimated as of 2002 and costs of over $107 billion related to digestive health as of 1992. More than 2 million people in the United States are thought to have celiac disease, and most of those people are still undiagnosed. These numbers need to be re-examined, as the prevalence of digestive diseases continue to rise and bringing healthcare costs along with it.

Overall we can learn from the Canadian Digestive Health Strategy and Action Plan. Their comprehensive and integrated approach is bringing together experts from a variety of fields so that Canadians at all levels can work to reduce the impact of digestive disorders. This type of coalition is essential to providing continued awareness and solutions to our Digestive Health crisis worldwide. 

For more information or a full version of the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation National Digestive Disorders Prevalence & Impact Study Report, check out




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