Source: The Mercury, 16 October, 1996, p.3


Gastro 'a
Western
world
disease'

ONE in three Australians suf-
fers heartburn or indigestion, 
with most blaming spicy or 
greasy food.

   A survey endorsed by The   
Gut Foundation found that 
Australia has one of the worst 
heartburn problems in the 
world, with men and older 
people hardest hit.

   Gastro-enterologist Jack 
Hansky said: "I think it's a 
disease of our Western world.

   "We eat too much, drink too 
much alcohol, and tend to be 
overweight."

   Associate Professor Han- 
sky, of Monash University, is  
a councillor of The Gut Foun-
dation, which is concerned 
about public health impli-
cations of an ageing popu-
lation which suffers regular 
indigestion.

   In a report called The Fire 
Inside to be released today,    
the foundation estimates the 
annual cost of dyspepsia at 
$400 million, including medi-
cation and loss of earnings.

   A survey of 1200 people 
found people blamed their 
dyspepsia on the food they ate, 
including spicy foods (51%), 
greasy or rich food (46%) and 
over-eating (37%).

   It also found that 41% of   
men reported dyspepsia every 
four to six months, among 
women it was 33%.

   The survey found that 60%   
of sufferers used antacids,     
19% used prescription medi- 
cations and 18% did nothing.

   Antacids neutralised acid 
secreted by the stomach but 
other agents were available to 
attack the source of the prob-
lem, Professor Hansky said.

   AAP


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