Smart Food Choices

Children's Constipation

Encouraging your child to make simple dietary changes — such as eating more fiber-rich fruits and vegetables and drinking more water — can go a long way toward alleviating constipation. If your child’s doctor approves, it may be possible to treat a child’s constipation with laxatives.

Victoria Middleton

Victoria Middleton

RD
Registered Dietitian
New York City, NY
Yumna Khan

Yumna Khan

RD
Registered Dietitian
Burlington, ON
Margarita deGraaf

Margarita deGraaf

RD
Registered Dietitian
Burlington, ON

Dr. David Israel, BSc, MD, FRCPC, discusses constipation causes.

Quiz: Do You Understand Children's Nutrition?

Test your knowledge by answering the following questions:

Questions
True
False
1

Kids between the ages of 6 and 17 should do 30 minutes or more of physical activity each day.

Explanation:
According to the CDC, children and adolescents ages 6 through 17 years should do 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day. This should include cardio, activities that strengthen bones and exercises that build muscle.
2

There is a link between children's nutrition and mental health.

Explanation:
Studies have found that children who have healthy diets are more likely to be happy. Children who are overweight have a higher risk of experiencing low self-esteem, depression and negative body image.
3

It can be a good idea to feed kids while they are watching TV, so that they will be distracted enough to finish everything on their plate.

Explanation:
If kids eat in front of the TV, they may overeat, because they aren’t paying attention to feelings of fullness. Try to eat together as a family in the kitchen or dining room.
4

Parents should choose all their child's food, regardless of the child's preferences. Parents know best when it comes to children's nutrition.

Explanation:
While it is important for parents to understand children's dietary requirements, getting kids involved can really help them make healthy choices. Take your child grocery shopping and let them pick out some nutritious foods they like, or get them involved in meal prep.
5

Foods that are high in sugar can become addictive to the body.

Explanation:
Eating sugar actually releases endorphins and dopamine in our bodies, which are the "feel-good" chemicals. It is possible for kids to become addicted to sugar.
(Answer all questions to activate)

David Israel, BSc, MD, FRCPC, discusses involuntary soiling due to constipation.

What Causes Constipation In Children?

Constipation is very common and the most common cause of it is functional.

Meaning you absorb the water too fast in the bowel and push your contents of the bowel out too slowly. The main constipation treatment is related to the diet and the belief is that most of the time constipation is caused by a diet that is insufficient in fibre.

In addition, water or fluid consumption is very critical and so is physical activity, especially for older people. If you do not move, nothing moves well as they say! In the minority of cases there is an underlying cause of constipation, so it’s important to visit your physician for an assessment if you’re suffering from chronic constipation.

If you have questions about constipation causes, contact your local physician or gastroenterologist.

Presenter: Dr. David Israel, Pediatrician, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Pediatrician

David Israel, BSc, MD, FRCPC, discusses long term constipation in children.

Children's Constipation and Involuntary Soiling

Constipation doesn’t only express itself with hard stools.

Some children will have soiling which is an overflow of loose stools around very hard stools that are banked or stored inside and those are involuntary events.

The child does not have control and does not know that he needs to go. Another problem that can arise with relation to constipation is stool withholding and pain behavior.

When children notice pain is associated with defecation, they try to do everything they can to avoid that sensation and they will hold and refrain from going to the washroom. They may seek refuge under the bed or in the corner, and these things often are not fully understood by the parents. They may think that the child is soiling on purpose or is having another problem all together.

If you have questions about constipation and involuntary soiling, contact your local physician or gastroenterologist.

Presenter: Dr. David Israel, Pediatrician, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Pediatrician

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