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Constipation and diet in a community sample of older Australians

Version 2 2024-06-17, 03:55
Version 1 2014-10-27, 16:27
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-17, 03:55 authored by W Hunter, G Jones, H Devereux, I Rutsihauser, N Talley
Objective: To estimate the prevalence of constipation and laxative use in a sample of people 65 years and over and examine relationships between usual diet and constipation.
Design: A mailed survey using validated instruments to measure bowel habit and laxative use with follow-up interviews to collect dietary data.
Subjects and setting: Three hundred and thirty people aged 65 years and over living at home in Melbourne were randomly selected from the electoral roll of a federal electorate.
Statistical analysis: Descriptive statistics, frequencies and two sample t-tests were used.
Results: Seventy-nine people responded to the mailed bowel survey and 61 were interviewed to collect food intake data. The proportion of constipated people was approximately one quarter (n = 18). Laxative use in the previous 12 months was reported by a fifth of respondents and in these subjects one in four was not constipated. Analysis of the dietary data revealed that the average number of cereal and vegetable serves consumed per day was similar to the national average but less than recommended by nutrition bodies although fruit intake met these recommendations. Constipated subjects consumed fewer serves from the cereals food group than those who were not constipated (2.9 and 3.5 serves respectively, P = 0.03).
Conclusion: Constipation and laxative use appears to be as common in older Australians as in similar populations overseas. Low intake of cereal foods may be a contributing factor.

History

Journal

Nutrition & dietetics

Volume

59

Pagination

253-259

Location

Deakin, A.C.T.

ISSN

1446-6368

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2002

Issue

4

Publisher

Dietitians Association of Australia

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