LONDON, May 29 /PRNewswire/ --

- Year-Long Campaign Titled 'Optimum Health and Nutrition' to Focus on the Link Between Nutrition and Digestive Health

- Poor Digestive Health Affects Millions Worldwide and Seriously Impacts Quality of Life, yet few Seek Medical Advice

- WGO and Danone Committed to Working Together Over Next Three Years to Help Raise Awareness and Improve Digestive Health

Today, on the occasion of World Digestive Health Day (WDHD), the World Gastroenterology Organisation (WGO) has launched a year-long campaign titled 'Optimum Health and Nutrition' focusing on the link between nutrition and digestive health. An unbalanced diet, rushing or skipping food and an unhealthy lifestyle may all contribute to digestive disorders (such as constipation, bloating and heartburn ) which affect millions worldwide. In a global consumer study, more than 55% of women interviewed claimed to suffer from these digestive disorders(1). This campaign is part of a three-year partnership between WGO and Danone to help raise awareness of digestive disorders and the importance of maintaining good digestive health.

Millions worldwide suffer from digestive disorders, which can seriously impact well-being and quality of life. For example, constipation can lead to discomfort, bloating and irregularity, all of which can affect confidence and leave sufferers feeling less sociable and attractive(2). However, constipation is largely ignored, with less than a third of sufferers actively seeking treatment - in the global consumer study, 44% of women claimed to suffer from constipation1 but a WGO report released today shows that only 15% of people who suffer from constipation actually visit a doctor(3).

Overall, digestive disorders are associated with considerable discomfort, disability, disruption of family life, high healthcare costs and time lost from work and other productive activities(3). In Europe, approximately 40 to 80 million people are affected by digestive disorders and projected costs are Euros 5.1bn while in the US, they account for 13% of all hospitalisations and nearly USD 24bn in costs(3).

According to Professor Eamonn Quigley, President, World Gastroenterology Organisation, "This year, we celebrate our 50th anniversary and have chosen to highlight the crucial topic of nutrition and digestive health. Digestive disorders affect a significant percent of the population and can lead to serious conditions such as colon cancer. We believe that nutrition is integral to digestive health - and overall health - and within nutrition, daily probiotics can play a major role in improving digestive health. Working jointly with Danone, we hope to increase awareness of digestive disorders and help people improve their digestive health through easily implemented nutritional and lifestyle changes."

Nutrition and lifestyle play an important role in digestive health. Simple yet effective steps including consumption of fibre, raw fruits and vegetables, adequate intake of fluids and regular exercise can help maintain digestive health. Eating scientifically proven probiotics daily can also help improve digestive health.

Dr Nigel Hughes, Vice President R&D - Dairy Division, Groupe Danone, says "This partnership demonstrates the commitment of Danone to improving nutrition and digestive health. Most digestive disorders are caused by poor or inadequate nutrition. The WGO has recently released nutritional guidelines including the daily consumption of probiotics and we hope more healthcare professionals will include probiotic foods with proven health benefits, such as Activia yogurt, in the management of people with digestive disorders."

For the campaign, the WGO and Danone have developed a range of useful materials about digestive health and nutrition for the general public and healthcare professionals. Among these are 10 simple, easy to follow nutritional recommendations and a nutritional pyramid for consumers looking to improve their digestive health. The WGO has also developed a DVD featuring interviews with leading European experts in addition to guidelines on Probiotics for reference by healthcare professionals and nutritionists. All these resources are available at

Over the next three years, Danone and the WGO will continue to work together to raise awareness of digestive disorders and help make healthcare professionals, the general public and governments more aware of issues - local, national and global - relating to nutrition and their relation to digestive health and disease. In addition, a series of studies will be carried out annually to determine the global prevalence of digestive disorders and provide clear nutritional recommendations based on local habits and disorders.

About World Gastroenterology Organisation

Formed in 1935 and incorporated in 1958, the World Gastroenterology Organisation (WGO) is a federation of 103 national societies and four regional association of gastroenterology representing over 50,000 individual members worldwide. Its mission is to promote an awareness of the worldwide prevalence and optimal care of digestive disorders, among the general public and healthcare professionals alike, through the provision of high quality, accessible and independent education and training. Every year, the WGO celebrates 29th May as World Digestive Health Day (WDHD) focusing on a particular gastroenterology theme or an important topic in the area of digestive health and disease.

About Groupe Danone

Groupe DANONE, the worldwide leader in healthy food, is a Fortune 500 company and one of the most successful healthy food companies in the world. Its mission is to bring health through tasty, nutritious and affordable food and beverage products to as many people as possible. Fulfilling this mission is a major contributor to the Groupe's continuous fast growth. Groupe DANONE, with 150 plants and around 76 000 employees, has a presence in all five continents and over 120 countries. In 2007, Groupe DANONE recorded 12.7 billion euros sales.

Groupe DANONE enjoys leading positions on healthy food on four businesses: fresh dairy products (ndegrees1 worldwide), waters (ndegrees 2 on the packaged water market), baby nutrition (ndegrees2 worldwide) and medical nutrition. Listed on Euronext Paris, Groupe DANONE is also ranked among the main index of social responsibility: Dow Jones Stoxx and World Sustainability Indices, ASPI Eurozone and Ethibel Sustainability Index. In 2008, the popular and proven probiotic fermented dairy product Activia will reach many millions of consumers globally and will account for well over EUR 2bn in sales.


(1) TNS data. Global consumer study 2006-2007

(2) TNS data. Consumer study 2004.

(3) Guarner F, et al. Map of Digestive Disorders (report by the WGO-Danone). 2008.

For more information, contact: Stéphanie Rismont-Wargnier Mitali Rajan Corporate Communication Groupe Danone Chandler Chicco Agency T : +33-1-44-35-20-74 T : +44(0)207-632-1996 F : +33-1-44-35-20-54 F : +44(0)207-632-1801 E : E :

Stéphanie Rismont-Wargnier, Corporate Communication Groupe Danone, T : +33-1-44-35-20-74, F : +33-1-44-35-20-54, E :; Mitali Rajan, Chandler Chicco Agency, T : +44(0)207-632-1996, F : +44(0)207-632-1801, E :