Korean J Nutr.  2009 Dec;42(8):702-713.

Prevalence of Constipation, Bowel Habits and Nutrient Intakes of College Students in Incheon Area

  • 1Department of Food and Nutrition, College of Human Ecology, Inha University, Incheon 402-751, Korea. kjchang@inha.ac.kr


This study was conducted to estimate the prevalence of constipation, bowel habits and nutrient intakes of college students. The subjects were 353 college students (166 males and 187 females) aged 19 to 29 years in Incheon area. The subjects were asked about bowel habits and dietary intake using questionnaires during march, 2008 and the prevalence of functional constipation (FC) was based on the Rome II criteria. The prevalence of FC in male and female students was 12.7% and 28.9%, respectively. The prevalence of self-reported constipation in male and female students was 12.0% and 36.9%, respectively. Both were higher in female students compared to male students. Among the subjects that have self-reported constipation, proportions of FC were 35.0% in male students and 55.1% in female students. Of subjects that did not self-reported constipation, the proportions of FC were 9.6% in male students and 13.6% in female students. Over 90% of respondents that self-reported constipation in male students, had neither visited a hospital and nor used laxatives or functional foods for constipation relief. Seventy five point three percent of male students, and 40.1% of female students, had a defecation frequency of over 5 times per week (p < 0.001). Ratios intaken under the estimated average requirement (EAR) of Vit A, Vit C, folic acid and Ca were over the 50% regardless of functional constipation. Mean daily consumption of total dietary fiber was 15.0 g/day in male students and 13.5 g/day in female students. According to these results, both functional constipation and self-reported constipation are more frequent in female college students and further studies are required in case-control study and related to psychological factors as well as nutrients to relieve of constipation.


constipation; bowel habits; nutrient intakes; college students
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