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Constipation in children

Study
Results
Comment

Bandolier 65 we featured an audit on laxative use in Shropshire which identified 12 children under 16 years (seven per 100,000 population) who had used stimulant laxatives for a mean of 3.8 years. A Greek study [1] links childhood constipation with low fibre in the diet.

Study


A randomised sample of children aged two to 14 years in three Greek counties. There were 291 children with constipation and 1602 controls. Nutritional data were obtained from a three-day dietary record and a dietary history.

Results


Children with constipation had a lower caloric intake than controls, and 28% were reported to be anorexic by parents compared with 5% of controls. Only fibre intake was independently associated with constipation. There was a strong association with family history. The prevalence of constipation was only 3% if neither parent was constipated, was 10% if one was constipated, and was 49% if both parents were constipated.

Comment


This detailed account strongly links childhood constipation to low fibre intake and family history of constipation.

Reference:

  1. E Roma et al. Diet and chronic constipation in children: the role of fiber. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition 1999 28: 169-74.
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