Coeliac Australia’s new national awareness campaign – Treat Gluten Seriously – will be launched as part of Coeliac Awareness Week, 13-20 March 2019.
A gluten free diet is the only treatment for coeliac disease, which affects one in 70 Australians. One of the biggest challenges for people with coeliac disease is eating outside the home.
Coeliac Australia’s new Treat Gluten Seriously campaign targets the only current medical treatment for coeliac disease – the gluten-free diet.
The campaign highlights the importance of the gluten-free diet as a medical necessity, not a fad, and encourages patients, their families and the food service sector to treat gluten seriously.
People with coeliac disease can suffer acute physical symptoms after consuming gluten similar to food poisoning and may take many days to recover.
Small amounts of gluten – even just a few crumbs – can be harmful over time and increase the risk of developing other autoimmune diseases and serious health issues such as osteoporosis, fertility problems and cancer.
A recent Coeliac Australia survey of almost 2,500 Australians with coeliac disease revealed close to 90% of respondents feel anxious about eating outside the home and worry about illness due to potential gluten exposure, while 75% want to avoid eating out in social situations.
The national survey found 79% believed they had been exposed to gluten when eating outside the home with 14% seeking medical advice after suspected gluten exposure.
Coeliac Australia has created a range of resources to help patients better manage their gluten free diet including catering for children with coeliac disease.
As part of the campaign, a series of recorded Information Sessions has been created where leading coeliac disease experts, dietitians, and psychologists discuss self-management of the gluten-free diet, eating out, label reading and strategies to cope with the diagnosis. The seminars are available on the Coeliac Australia website.