Constipated Classrooms

Kids who don't like fruits, vegetables 13 times more likely to be constipated

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Elementary school children who don't like fruits and vegetables are 13 times more likely to suffer from functional constipation than those who do, according to a new study.

Researchers at the National University of Singapore and Hong Kong Polytechnic University found that among 383 healthy students ages 8 to 10 (51 percent male), 7 percent suffered from functional constipation along with a clear distinction in the diets of those who were constipated and those who weren't constipated. Girls were more likely to suffer from functional constipation than boys (8.2 percent versus 6.6 percent of boys).

Children who drank less than 400ml of fluid a day were eight times more likely to be constipated than children who drank more than that amount.

But regardless of constipation status, nine out of every ten students reported a refusal to use school toilets for bowel movements. They cited a lack of toilet paper and clean toilets as reasons why.

Researchers recommended that more drinking fountains be installed, more high-fiber snacks offered in lunchrooms, and parents should see their children get plenty of fluids and eat an array of fruits and vegetables to combat the problem of functional constipation. 

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Review Date: 
February 21, 2011
Last Updated:
February 21, 2011