The Italian Coeliac Association was started in 1979 by a parents group facing the first cases of coeliac disease in Italy, suffering from lack of support for what was then a little known condition. Their primary needs were to understand what it really was, how to get diagnosed, how to manage a gluten-free diet and where to find safe gluten-free foods.
Now with more than 30 years of service, the Italian Coeliac Association has about 65,000 members, and has contributed to changing the gluten-free standards, as well as the history of the disease in Italy. Today, people with coeliac disease ask for guaranteed gluten-free meals when eating out, and a normal life in every sense of the word at home, on holiday, at work or with their families. They stand against the “medicalization” of the disorder.
Early recognition and correct diagnosis are very important. Coeliac disease affects about 1 in 100 individuals, however only about 150,000 are diagnosed in Italy at present, representing only the tip of the iceberg. What we are able to see is much smaller than the submerged part, ie. those who have not yet been diagnosed. Also thanks to the Italian Coeliac Association, there has been an average increase in the number of diagnoses of 10% per year.