Constipation and diet in a community sample of older Australians

Hunter, Wendy, Jones, Gwyn P., Devereux, Helen, Rutsihauser, Ingrid and Talley, Nicholas 2002, Constipation and diet in a community sample of older Australians, Nutrition & dietetics, vol. 59, no. 4, pp. 253-259.

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Title Constipation and diet in a community sample of older Australians
Author(s) Hunter, Wendy
Jones, Gwyn P.
Devereux, Helen
Rutsihauser, Ingrid
Talley, Nicholas
Journal name Nutrition & dietetics
Volume number 59
Issue number 4
Start page 253
End page 259
Publisher Dietitians Association of Australia
Place of publication Deakin, A.C.T.
Publication date 2002-12
ISSN 1446-6368
Keyword(s) constipation
older Australians
Summary 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.
Language eng
Field of Research 111199 Nutrition and Dietetics not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2002
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