Poowong community changes town name to ‘Pooright’ for Gut Health Month – ABC News

A town in eastern Victoria with a name that often draws giggles from passers-by has changed its name for a day in a bid to promote gut health.

Key points:

“Pooright” was until today known as Poowong. 

Home to farms and people seeking its divine rolling West Gippsland hills, the town’s community is used to taking jokes or handling questions about its name. 

Poowong resident Rosemary Knox said she was taking part in a seven-day gut health initiative as part of a new year’s resolution to take better care of her health.

“It made me answerable, I would write down each day and each snack because I hadn’t been having an afternoon snack,” Ms Knox said.

Two women smile at the camera

“I found writing something down that made me aware of what I was eating.”

She said it kept her honest.

“And it reinforced what I had been doing, what I’ve read about and what I’ve seen.”

Dieticians worked with community members as a part of the campaign.

Gut Health Month ambassador and dietician, Nicole Dynan, said participants were going to have “the healthiest guts in Australia”.

“Some of them had symptoms, some of them didn’t … but in any case, we were trying to make them feel better overall,” Ms Dynan said.

Poowong is a First Nations’ people’s word, meaning carrion.

Campaign organisers sought permission from Boonwurrung Land and Sea Council to temporarily modify the town name for the launch.

“The council confirms that the name change is not disrespectful to the traditional owners of the land in anyway shape or form nor is it being insensitive to the culture and heritage,” a Gut Health Month spokesperson said.

Making changes

Ms Dynan told ABC Gippsland Breakfast radio there were often misconceptions about the complexities of achieving better gut health.

An assortment of food on a table.

“Some of the simple things to do, which are really cost effective, are just making some simple swaps in what you’re eating already,” she said.

“Swapping your white bread, rice [or] pasta, over to wholegrain varieties, maybe adding in some probiotic yoghurt with your breakfast or as an afternoon snack, and just boosting up generally the number of plants in your diet, because we know now that people that eat over 30 different varieties of plants per week, have better gut health and over all health generally.”

Gut health has come to the fore in holistic health forums in the past 20 years, with strong links to mental health identified. 

Dieticians involved with Gut Health Month are hoping awareness and further research will result in proven studies to achieve better health outcomes.

“We now know that diet does play an integral role in our mood, and our stress levels as well,” Ms Dynan said.

“We’re starting to uncover that it’s linked with over 70 health conditions.

“So it’s pretty exciting for us as dietitians, and also for researchers and anyone working in the gut health space, that there could be, you know, a lot more that we uncover in the next five to 10 years.”

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