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North South Divide Exists in UK Digestive Health

LONDON, May 29 /PRNewswire/ -- More northern women feel bloating and gurgling than their southern counterparts with up to 70% of them likely to experience it at any one time, according to a TNS survey commissioned by Danone(1).

Women from the West Midlands and Yorkshire and Humberside fared the worst (71%), with Greater London and the South West experiencing the least amount of bloated feelings. And 61% of British women experience feeling bloated, with 85% believing they have a healthy digestive system.

Two thirds of women haven't consulted a doctor or nurse about these feelings - younger women especially, aged 16 - 34, generally do not do anything about these feelings of digestive discomfort.

Today, on World Digestive Health Day, the World Gastroenterology Organisation Foundation(2) and Danone have joined forces to call for improved education in digestive health in the UK.

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, proven probiotics can play a major role in improving digestive health."

44% of British women who experience digestive discomfort say it makes them feel uncomfortable in their clothes or skin; 23% feel bad tempered and 1 in 5 feel less confident. This is a true reflection that British women could take better care of their digestive health, something that can be improved with very easy steps.

Not surprisingly, the survey's findings also showed that in the areas where most women reported feeling digestive discomfort, they also reported eating more fried and fatty foods. Fried/fatty foods were consumed at least two to three times a week by 25% of British women - highest in the West Midlands (31%).

Interestingly, in the areas where women reported the lowest levels of feeling bloated, the highest consumption of probiotic yogurt was reported. Probiotic yogurt consumption was also found to be highest in UK women aged 55 - 64, the age group least likely to report feeling bloated. Highest yogurt consumption was evident in the South West, Greater London and the East of England - all areas which correlate to comparatively lower bloated feelings.

Fiona Hunter, independent nutritionist, said: "Digestive health is an excellent indicator of our overall health. Discomfort isn't just something women get from time to time and it really isn't something that should be ignored. If you do experience it, first check your diet - eat lots of fruit and veg and try a probiotic yogurt that has scientifically proven benefits. Also, try to eat more slowly, make sure you drink plenty of fluids and try and do regular exercise. If things don't improve, talk to your local practice nurse or GP."

Worryingly, the survey also showed that a fifth of British women are skipping breakfast, the most important meal for jumpstarting the day's digestive process. Within the 16-24 year category, this figure increases to an incredible third of young women.

Daily probiotics can play a major role in supporting digestive health. Activia contains the unique culture Bifidus Actiregularis(TM), which increases your good bacteria. It helps regulate support your digestive system by improving slower digestive transit when at least one pot is eaten everyday for two weeks as part of a healthy balanced diet and lifestyle. 82% of people with self-reported digestive discomfort said they felt better or much better after having one pot of Activia for two weeks* and 87% reported feeling less bloated.**

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Note to Editors

(1) The survey was conducted by TNS via an online omnibus panel of 1,011 adult women aged between 16-64 years in Great Britain. Fieldwork was conducted between 24 April - 1 May 2008. The sample has been weighted to represent the female population of Great Britain aged 16 - 64 years.

(2) World Digestive Health Day (29 May) is a WGO Foundation initiative which aims to educate the general public, as well as healthcare professionals, that being aware of, and looking after our digestive health, is an important part of our overall well-being and that taking small proactive steps, can make a big difference.

* Study where 292 consumers ate one or two pots of Activia everyday for 14 days

** As compared to 54% who reported feeling less bloated in the control group in the same study

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