A New Problem For Obese Children: Bowel Control

With the obesity epidemic in high gear, especially among our nation's kids, the predominant worry has been the incidence of diabetes, and rightly so.

About a month ago, I blogged a news item about the growing incidence of pediatricians being the weak link in the obesity failure chain. The study found in 66 percent of the office visits by obese children at a Pittsburgh hospital, pediatricians didn't indicate a child was overweight.

A new study points out how badly physicians missed the boat: Obese children appear to be at risk of both constipation and lack of bowel control. About a fourth of obese kids tracked between the ages of 1 and 18 are constipated, compared to only 16 percent of 2 year-olds and 3 percent of older children noted in previous reports. Moreover, 15 percent of obese kids appeared to have problems with fecal soiling, which typically occurs in only 1 to 3 percent of all children.

Although nobody knows for sure why the rate of kids with bowel problems has grown exponentially, one expert believes obese children may be more likely to have bowel problems if they tend to eat less fiber, or if they have problems with their intestines.

Another sad thought: Many pediatricians are likely unaware that many of their obese patients have bowel problems, since doctors likely focus on the myriad other known health problems associated with obesity, and may simply not ask.

As I've said many time before, the battle for your child's health is definitely winnable but it takes some effort and mentoring on your part. Start with the simple things:

Yahoo News September 2, 2004

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