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Jornal de Pediatria

Print version ISSN 0021-7557

Abstract

AGUIRRE, Andrea Nogueira de Campos; VITOLO, Márcia Regina; PUCCINI, Rosana Fiorini  and  MORAIS, Mauro Batista de. Constipation in infants: influence of type of feeding and dietary fiber intake. J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) [online]. 2002, vol.78, n.3, pp. 202-208. ISSN 0021-7557.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0021-75572002000300007.

Objective: To study the relationship between breast-feeding, dietary fiber intake and constipation in infants. Methods: The study population consisted of 275 infants consecutively enrolled in two Primary Care Clinic in the city of Embu, in the Great São Paulo. The feeding pattern were classified in predominantly breast-feeding, partially breast and cow’s milk feeding and artificial feeding. Constipation was defined by the elimination of hard stool associated with one of the following: painful or difficult defecation, hard or round cracked stools and less than three defecations a week. False constipation was defined by the elimination of soft stools without pain or difficulty but with less than three defecations a week. Results: Constipation was found in 25.1% (69/275). False constipation was found only in the first semester of life in 5.1% of 159 infants. The prevalence of constipation was higher between 6 and 24 months (38.8%, 45/116) than in the first semester of life (15.1%, p=0.000). A model of logistic regression demonstrated that infants under artificial feeding were 4.53 times more liable to develop constipation than infants who were predominantly breastfed. The daily dietary fiber intake (g/day) was similar (p=0.57) among the constipated (median=9.0 g; 25th and 75th percentiles: 6.9-13.1g) and non-constipated (median = 8.8 g; 25th and 75th percentiles: 6.1-12.9 g). Conclusions: Dietary fiber intake was similar in constipated and non-constipated infants. Breast-feeding serves as a protection factor against the development of constipation in the first semester of life.

Keywords : Constipation; breast-feeding; dietary fiber.

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