This “Report of the Working Groups” is the first global effort to define the current status of the digestive and nutritional health of children around the world and to outline a plan of action for the next 5 years to address current problems. This project was conceived by the organizers (the International Executive Committee) of the first World Congress of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, held in August 2000 in Boston, Massachusetts, and involved more than 150 physicians and scientists from the organizing Societies of the World Congress, the World Health Organization, and others.
The International Executive Committee believed that an important purpose of the First World Congress was to address in a formal fashion the major global issues concerning digestive and liver disease and nutrition of children. Therefore, Working Groups of international experts were formed to characterize and analyze 20 major areas of importance and to recommend the future directions and initiatives needed to improve child health in these areas. The topics chosen ranged from those with broad political and socioeconomic implications to those involving innovative technology, functional disorders, infectious diseases, allergy and immunology, genetic and metabolic disorders, organ transplantation, inflammatory and autoimmune disorders, and malnutrition and obesity.
Each Working Group prepared a written report that was presented at the first World Congress in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A., on August 5–9, 2000. These reports delineate: a summary of the current state of the clinical problem, a definition of the areas of emphasis in need of investigation or implementation, and a plan to achieve these goals. Group Organizers for each report communicated assignments, drafts, and revisions of the documents to each member of the group, until consensus was reached by Internet communication for each area. The hard work and extraordinary efforts of these groups have produced this Report of the Working Groups.
It is hoped that the information and recommendations contained within these documents will provide a “blueprint” for the future that will stimulate policymakers, granting agencies, researchers, clinicians, and the biomedical and nutrition industries to initiate a major effort to improve childhood digestive and nutritional health. This would include allocating new financial resources to benefit children and families, conducting and funding sound scientific investigation, developing needed treatments and collaborations, educating caretakers and the public, and initiating successful implementation strategies. This Report will be the first of many that will be produced every 4 years for each future World Congress meeting.
The International Executive Committee is grateful to all of those who contributed their time and efforts to the success of this project:
International Executive Committee:
Samy Cadranel, MDPast President, ESPGHAN
Roberto Calva, MDPresident, LASPGN
Mei-Hwang Chang, MDPresident, APPSPGAN
Ulysses Fagundes-Neto, MDPast President, LASPGN
Stefano Guandalini, MDPresident, ESPGHAN
Ronald J. Sokol, MDPast President, NASPGHAN
Yuichiro Yamashiro, MDPast President, APPSPGAN