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The Coeliac Australia
Awareness Campaign

Campaign overview

This year, we’re shaking things up and shining a light on coeliac disease in children with the Coeliac Australia Awareness Campaign (CAAC) 2023. The campaign, which aims to spotlight the importance of increasing testing and diagnosis rates in children will commence on 3 April 2023 and culminate with a day of celebration on International Coeliac Day, 16 May 2023.

To mark International Coeliac Day, numerous activities have been lined up, including a variety of media events supported by some well-known Aussie celebs. Our Coeliac Australia ambassadors will also be busy spreading the word along with an Australia-wide light-up event that CA members, schools, and businesses can get behind to shine the brightest light!

We look forward to standing together with our global counterparts to raise awareness of coeliac disease and strive for a brighter future.

Australians have coeliac disease
Remains undiagnosed

Coeliac disease in kids

Coeliac disease is a serious medical condition that commonly develops in childhood. It is estimated that approximately 1:70 Australian children have coeliac disease BUT a staggering 80% of those remain undiagnosed. Left undiagnosed, there is an increased risk of lifelong health complications.

Coeliac disease is a known ‘clinical chameleon’ and, as a result, a diagnosis of coeliac disease is commonly missed. This is particularly true of children who sometimes present with subtle signs and symptoms that mimic those of other conditions.

This year, Coeliac Australia’s Awareness Campaign is encouraging parents, care givers and families to speak to their GP about screening for coeliac disease if their child is out of sorts or experiencing common symptoms including tiredness and lethargy, mouth ulcers, gastro-intestinal symptoms, iron deficiency, poor weight gain, dental defects or recent changes in behavior or emotional state.

Sadly, undiagnosed coeliac disease in children can lead to poor health outcomes including impaired growth, delayed puberty, osteoporosis, increased risk of additional autoimmune disease and impaired school performance.

The earlier the diagnosis, the better. The diagnosis of coeliac disease is straightforward and starts with a blood test.

It's important that parents and caregivers DO NOT start their child on a gluten free diet before getting their child screened for coeliac disease. This will hinder a correct diagnosis and may delay the diagnosis of other potentially serious conditions.

Common signs and symptoms to look out for:

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    Diarrhoea, nausea and/or vomiting, abdominal pain, constipation
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    Weight loss, failure to thrive or stunted growth
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    Delayed puberty​
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    Behavioural and emotional issues including irritability, anxiety, difficulty concentrating and sleep problems
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    Iron-deficiency anaemia
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    Recurrent mouth ulcers
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    Tiredness and lethargy
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    Dental defects
If you child has any of these symptoms or is simply ‘out of sorts’, speak to your GP about screening for coeliac disease. When coeliac disease runs in the family…
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    Children with a family history of coeliac disease should be screened – even without symptoms
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    An immediate relative of someone with coeliac disease has an increased risk of being affected
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    Even if your child is asymptomatic, regular screening should commence at around 4 years of age

Help spread the world!

Encourage family, friends, and colleagues to speak to their GP about screening for coeliac disease if their child is experiencing any commonly associated symptoms (see box 1) or if they're simply 'out of sorts'.
Early testing and diagnosis are crucial for long term health outcomes and your support will help us fund essential services across Australia and critical research into Coeliac Disease. To help raise vital funds go to
Follow us on socials and share campaign posts to get the message out!
Download the 2023 social campaign images and share and tag on your socials
#shinealightoncoeliacdisease #coeliacaustralia
Download the 2023 campaign poster to display around your community, schools or workplace
Learn about Coeliac Australia's child and adolescent resources by visiting the members area (members only)

Become a Coeliac Australia member!

For the price of one coffee a month, joining Coeliac Australia helps you take back control

It can be difficult to know where to start when diagnosed with coeliac disease or a related gut-health concern. Research and advice can change quickly, making it hard to stay on track with your health. We walk alongside you on your journey to taking back control over your health.

Enjoy ongoing access to research, support, recipes, news and discounts. We’ll help you stay informed to make the best decisions for your and your family’s health.