Coeliac Awareness Week kicks off today, and with it comes an announcement from Coeliac UK that there has been a fourfold increase in the rate of diagnosed cases of coeliac disease in the UK.
According to the University of Nottingham, the increase has occurred over the last two decades, but the charity has said three quarters of people with coeliac disease remain undiagnosed.
The research carried out by Dr Joe West from University of Nottingham was funded by Coeliac UK and Core and states the level of diagnosis has increased to 24%, from the previously estimated figure from the National Institute of Health & Care Excellence (NICE) which stood at 10-15%.
During the study, researchers identified the number of people diagnosed with coeliac disease between 1999 and 2011by using the diagnostic codes for coeliac disease recorded in the Clinical Practice Research Datalink.
The research was published by the American Journal of Gastroenterology to coincide with Coeliac UK’s awareness week – which this year has been dubbed the ‘gluten free guarantee’.
Sarah Sleet, chief executive of Coeliac UK, said: “This latest research shows that nearly a quarter of people with coeliac disease have now been diagnosed and gives an up to date picture of the diagnosis levels across the UK.
“Of course, increasing numbers with a diagnosis is good news and will inevitably mean that there will be an increased demand for gluten-free products in supermarkets.
“But the three quarters undiagnosed is around 500,000 people – a shocking statistic that needs urgent action.”
Gluten free Guarantee
So what is going on in this year’s campaign by Coeliac UK (May 12-18, 2014)? Aside from the latest research revelations, the charity is asking supermarkets to commit to have in stock eight core items of gluten free food, making it easier for people to manage their condition.
In fact, Coeliac UK said in a recent survey about shopping habits, 74% of its members who responded said that they have to visit more than one supermarket to complete their free-from shopping requirements
“Can you imagine going into your local supermarket and there is no bread you can eat, not one loaf not one slice?” added Sarah Sleet.
“And when you check out the pasta, cereal or flour again there is nothing available on the shelf which means you have to trawl around two or three stores in order to be able to find your staple foods.
“This is not about your preferred brand but about the major supermarkets ensuring that they have sufficient stock in all their stores whatever their size for this growing market of people who depend on gluten-free food for their health.”
To support this Gluten Free Guarantee, I’ll be posting a round up of the gluten free offerings in my local supermarkets and I want you to get involved! Send me a snap of your Free From aisle – however good or bad its offerings are – to [email protected], tweet me @GFBlogger or post it on the Gluten Free Blogger’s Facebook page!
I want to know which supermarkets should be praised for their offerings, and who should be named and shamed!