The Journal of Clinical Nursing recently published the results of a study into the connection between functional constipation and aversion to fruits and vegetables in children .
While it may seem obvious that kids who enjoy eating these healthy foods are more likely to exhibit healthy bowel function and regularity than their more finicky peers, the large difference between the two groups is still surprising.
Professor Yuk Ling Chan, a researcher at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and his associate Dr. Moon Fai Chan (no relation) of the National University of Singapore, conducted the in-depth survey-based investigation into constipation with the help of just under 400 Hong Kong students.
The children, ranging in ages eight to ten years, were each asked to answer a series of questions regarding both their dietary and bathroom habits. By analyzing the results, the two researchers were able to estimate a 13 fold increase in functional constipation among children who do not like eating fruits and vegetables. They also found that children who regularly drink less than 400 ml of fluid per day are eight times more likely to become constipated, and that boys, overall, were slightly less prone to developing symptoms of constipation.
Child Constipation: Reading Between the Lines
This study on child constipation sheds light on another interesting detail about young people’s bathroom habits – they don’t like using school toilets.
Ninety percent of the students, both those with and without functional constipation, said they would not poop at school, citing dirty facilities and a lack of privacy as the primary reasons why. Kids, like most of us, prefer to use their own bathrooms whenever possible. Unfortunately, this isn’t always an option.
Fighting the body’s natural schedule until school lets out is a great way to create intestinal blockage. And with the overwhelming majority of students surveyed admitting that they usually wait until they get home to have a bowel movement, it’s no surprise they quickly become constipated in the absence of proper diet and hydration.
Addressing Functional Constipation in Young Students
Doctor and Professor Chan have a number of simple recommendations to help alleviate functional constipation in children. First and foremost, students, parents, and teachers need to be better educated on the signs and side effects of constipation. Not only does this lead to better understanding of the condition, it makes it less taboo and easier to talk about.
They also advise more proactive measures such as revamped snack options that include more fruits and vegetables. More adequate access to drinking water throughout the school day, and improved on-campus restroom facilities were also strongly recommended.
Note: Constipation in children and adults is more common than you might think. It’s recommended that you use an oxygen based colon cleanser, such as Oxy-Powder, to keep the bowels moving. There are also many other constipation remedies you can try, but unlike many other remedies, taking an oxygen colon cleanser has been clinically proven to help with constipation.
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM
- Wiley – Blackwell. Children who don’t like fruit and vegetables are 13 times more likely to be constipated. ScienceDaily. 2010 December 13.
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