While there are a number of answers to the above title, the answer that I’m looking for is physical activity (JPGN 2013; 57: 768-74).
With regard to the referenced study, a large prospective birth-cohort study (n=347 participants) in Rotterdam showed that preschool children with increased physical activity had about 1/3rd less frequency of functional constipation in the fourth year of life. Activity measurements at the age of 2 years were accomplished by wearing ActiGraph accelerometers during 1 weekday and 1 weekend day. Additionally, children who had physical activity of 60 min/day at age 4 had about 1/2 the likelihood of having functional constipation. There are several limitations to the study; reduced activity and constipation could both be present in some individuals as a consequence of personality or psychologic attributes rather than physical activity having a causal relationship in causing constipation.
Bottomline: Another good reason to encourage physical activity –it might help with regular bowel habits.
Also, on a separate note, a recent blog post by Kipp Ellsworth is a useful reference for lab monitoring (micronutrients and vitamins) in children with short bowel syndrome:
Related blog entries:
- PEG vs. Fiber for constipation | gutsandgrowth
- Stimulants for constipation | gutsandgrowth
- AGA Constipation Guidelines | gutsandgrowth
- Miralax Safety | gutsandgrowth
- Clues about constipation and more than 2.5 million … – gutsandgrowth