A walkathon organised here on Tuesday by the Indian Society of Gastroenterology (ISG),Tamil Nadu chapter, in association with the Junior Chamber, Ooty to observe the World Digestive Health Day and enhance awareness about common gastrointestinal symptoms like heartburn, bloating of the abdomen, indigestion and constipation evoked a good response.

Flagging off the rally at the Jain Temple, the Nilgiris Collector Archana Patnaik lauded the effort and said that in an increasingly stressful world lifestyle related maladies are on the rise. She said that people are not aware of many of them.

K. R. Palaniswamy, Patron, ISG, Tamil Nadu said that this vacation destination has been chosen as the venue for the event as the presence of a large number of tourists would facilitate a wider reach of the message.

Among those who participated were the Superintendent of Police S.Nizamuddin and actor Sathyaraj.

In an interaction that followed the consensus of a panel of experts was that digestive health can be protected through proper life style management, exercise, shunning of junk food and consumption of adequate quantity of water.

Initiating the discussions, Dr.Palaniswamy pointed out that lifestyle determines the quality of life and said that owing to changing lifestyles even children are now suffering due to health problems like constipation.

Coimbatore based expert Mohan Prasad said that life style changes have increased the number of reflux cases and also made obesity common. He underscored the need for good sleep in the night.

Mohammed Ali, an expert from Chennai, said that a major contributory factor for gastrointestinal disorders was the growing preference for fast food. People should eat to live and not the other way round.

Venkatakrishnan, another expert from Coimbatore, listed the benefits of exercise.

N.Anandamurthy, an Ooty based physician said that since the number of diabetes and hypertension cases was quite high in the Nilgiris every patient with gastrointestinal symptoms is also checked for cardiac problems as a measure of precaution. He added that alcohol abuse was high on the list of causes for gastrointestinal problems.

Sheela Nambiar, a Fitness and Life Style expert, said that the role of physical exercise was very important. She added that mere walking was not enough.

A composite programme is needed to deal with such problems. K. Premkumar of Chennai said that the three main meals should be taken at the right time and one should consume at least two litres of water in small quantities.