Celiac Awareness Month - Ministerial Message

Statements

Every year in May, we recognize Celiac Awareness Month to raise awareness of the daily challenges facing Canadians with Celiac disease.

Celiac disease is one of the most common chronic gastrointestinal disorders, and affects about one percent of the population. It can develop at any age, and its most common symptoms are diarrhea, abdominal pain and weight loss. Symptoms of the disease are caused by the body’s  reaction to gluten, which is a protein found in wheat and other grains.

Since Celiac disease is an inherited disorder, you should see your healthcare professional to get tested if one of your family members has it and you are experiencing symptoms.

At present, the only effective treatment for the disease is a lifelong gluten-free diet. Health Canada is committed to making more information on gluten, that Canadians with Celiac disease need, available on food labels of prepackaged foods. This is a part of Canada’s Healthy Eating Strategy, which I announced last October, and our commitment to improving the information available on food labels to help Canadians make more informed food choices.

I would also like to acknowledge the work of the Canadian Celiac Association and the Fondation québecoise de la maladie coeliaque for their efforts to raise awareness about this condition.

This month, I encourage all Canadians to visit Health Canada’s website to learn more about this disease.

The Honourable Jane Philpott, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Health

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