Wednesday Nov 26, 2008 (foodconsumer.org) -- A study
scheduled to be published in early 2009 in The Journal of Pediatrics found that
treatment for childhood constipation in the United States was costly, about $4
billion each year.
Childhood constipation can be serious leading to surgery
in some cases. Children often eat less fiber-rich fruits and vegetables than
adults and they are prone to having problems with bowel movements.
The study found that one in every four children had constipation
at some point in time due to a variety of reasons such as not eating enough
fiber, not wanting to use unfamiliar bathrooms or simply ignoring the urge to
go while playing.
"Despite being considered by many a relatively
benign condition, childhood constipation has been shown to be associated with a
significantly decreased quality of life," said Doctor Carlo Di Lorenzo at
Nationwide Children's Hospital.
The study was based on a nationally representative survey
of children under 18 years of age who were diagnosed with constipation or
prescribed a laxative over two-consecutive years between 2003 and 2004
"Parents should talk to their children about their
bathroom habits and make sure they are having a bowel movement at least every
other day," said Hayat Mousa, MD, a pediatric gastroenterologist at
Nationwide Children's Hospital and a faculty member at The Ohio State
University College of Medicine.
"For mild cases of constipation, prune or apple
juice, high-fiber cereal, or over-the-counter softeners or laxatives made for
children may help. If the problem persists, parents should seek the advice of a
A health observer affiliated with foodconsumer.org
suggested that cooked sweet potatoes can be often consumed to effectively
prevent constipation in children.
that sweet potatoes might be more effective than other common foods like cereal
or prune juice, which are often recommended by pediatricians.
Another good way to avoid constipation, he suggested, is
to reduce intake of dairy products, which could be hard for babies, but
possible for toddlers and older children.
It is observed that dairy and other animal-based foods tend to stay
longer than plant-based foods.
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