Kiwis’ gut health highlighted

The Gut Foundation general manager Margaret Fitzgerald with a travelling art display which is intended to spark gut health conversations among New Zealanders.

NEW ZEALANDERS are being encouraged to normalise talking about gut health and to ‘‘review your poo’’ in a new initiative from the Gut Foundation.

A Polyjohn portaloo was turned into an eye-catching display piece by street artist Jason Yikes, designed to inspire conversations about gut health, and is partway through its 12-month journey around the country.

It was on display in Invercargill recently.

The Gut Foundation general manager Margaret Fitzgerald was travelling with the display, and said a recent foundation tour around the South Island was intended to uncover people’s journeys to diagnosis for gut diseases, such as coeliac disease, Crohn’s disease, bowel cancer and others.

‘‘What we found was people didn’t really like to talk about it. They didn’t know what symptoms might be and then they didn’t like to go to the doctor and talk about their poo.’’

According to statistics from the Gut Foundation, up to nine people in New Zealand are diagnosed every day with bowel cancer, which is very treatable if detected early.