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World Digestive Health Day 2024

Jakarta, IO – World Digestive Health Day is celebrated every May 29. This year’s theme is “Your Digestive Health: Make It a Priority”. The theme aims to raise awareness about the importance of gut health to overall health and quality of life. Prioritizing digestive health is paramount to fostering overall well-being and mobility. The digestive system serves as a “gateway to nutrition”, absorbing those vital nutrients essential for sustaining bodily functions and promoting optimal health. 

“Digestive health is an indicator of a child’s optimal growth and development. The digestive tract, an important organ in the first 1,000 days of life, is also home to hundreds of trillions of microbiota, exerting an influence on a child’s brain development and intelligence. Ironically, various surveys have found that 8 out of 10 mothers in Indonesia still face digestive problems in the first year of life of their infants. Factors that support digestive tract health include nutrition, drugs and vitamin supplements, the specter of infections and health conditions, as well as the external environment,” observed dr. Frieda Handayani Kawanto, Sp.A(K), Subsp.G.H., in a media and community gathering with the theme “Digestive Week 2024” held by Bebelac on Friday (24/5/2024). 

dr. Frieda Handayani Kawanto, Sp.A(K), Subsp.G.H.
dr. Frieda Handayani Kawanto, Sp.A(K), Subsp.G.H. (IO/Esti)

The pediatric specialist-gastrohepatology consultant from Pondok Indah Bintaro Hospital, South Tangerang, stated that digestion is often perceived as “the second brain” because of its sensitive interrelationship, as the Gut-Brain Axis (GBA). “Microbiota is the key to the development of the Gut-Brain Axis. Providing nutritious intake can optimize and maintain the health of the digestive system, while prebiotic intake sustains a balanced number of good bacteria in the intestines. Prebiotics are found in such vital sources of fiber as fruit, vegetables, milk, nuts and tubers such as carrots. Other nutrients of importance are growth milk for children over one year of age, as it contains prebiotics, nourishing the good bacteria where necessary.” 

Fruit and Vegetables 

A child’s digestive tract is considered healthy if it defecates 1-2 times a day, with good stool consistency. “Prebiotics, fruit and vegetables must be consumed, considering their anti-inflammatory function in the intestines. The result is the avoidance of stomach pain, and over the long term can also reduce the incidence of colorectal cancer. Ultra-processed, deep-fried and oily foods carry too much trans-fat, which can trigger inflammation in the intestines if consumed continuously. It is always best to supply children food that is as close as possible to its ‘original form’,” dr. Frieda explained. 

Read: A Sterile Genital Area Avoids Irritation During Menstruation

Meanwhile, Dr. dr. Ray Wagiu Basrowi, MKK, Medical & Scientific Affairs Director at Danone Indonesia, pointed out how Nutricia Indonesia is committed to continuing education about health in the digestive tract. “We have conducted research using Artificial Intelligence, which can monitor children’s feces with an accuracy of more than 95%. These findings have been recognized in a prestigious international scientific forum, one concerned with gastrointestinal tract and pediatric nutrition in Europe, namely, The European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN), with studies published in The Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition (JPGN). We will continue to support parents in their vital journey,” he said. (est)

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