To examine a possible link between childhood obesity andconstipation, Dinesh S. Pashankar, MD, MRCP, and VeraLoening-Baucke, MD, conducted a study to evaluate theprevalence of obesity in a population of children with functionalconstipation, compared with control children. Obesitywas classified as body mass index (BMI) of >95th percentileand severe obesity as BMI ≥5 kg/m2 above the 95th percentilefor age and sex. Reporting in Pediatrics (September 2005),the researchers found that the overall prevalence of obesitywas significantly higher in children with constipation (22.4%)than in control children (11.7%). This higher prevalence alsowas seen for severe obesity.
Prevalence rates of obesity were significantly higher inboys than in girls with constipation (25% vs 19%, respectively)and were significantly higher than in controls (boys, 13.5%;girls, 9.8%). Boys with constipation had significantly higherrates of obesity, compared with their control counterparts in allage groups. Girls with constipation had significantly higherobesity rates than their counterparts, but only for ages 8 to 17.These results suggested that there is a link between obesityand constipation in children. Other factors—such as diet,exercise, and hormonal influences—may also play a role.