Monday, November 15, 2004

Fast Food & Tummy Troubles

A recent study at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston has found a link between eating a lot of fast food and recurrent abdominal pain (RAP).

This poorly understood condition involves pain that comes and goesfor over three months without any obvious medical cause and no signs of serious problems.
No specific cause has been found for this, but increasing your childs fiber can help.

The study questioned 700 children between the ages of 5 and 15. 24% of whom suffered from RAP. The researchers found that the risk was two times greater in children who ate no more than two servings of fruit a week.

The risk was also increased 50% for the children who ate fast food daily versus those who ate there no more than once a week.

Children who ate at home were more likely to eat fruits and veggies which are good sources of fiber - helping to prevent RAP.

Another article....

Fruits, Vegetables May Protect against Recurrent Abdominal Pain in Children
By Charlene Laino
NEW ORLEANS, LA -- May 18, 2004 -- Healthy eating habits appear to protect against recurrent abdominal pain in school children, a population-based study shows.Hoda Malaty, MD, associate professor of medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, United States, presented the findings here on May 18th at Digestive Disease Week 2004 (DDW).

"Although recurrent abdominal pain in children is common, the association between it and eating habits hadn't been looked at before," she said.Seeking to fill in the knowledge gap, her team prospectively studied 700 children, aged 5 years to 15 years.

With their parents, the children filled out a standardized questionnaire concerning socioeconomic parameters and abdominal pain intensity, frequency, and duration. Children were classified as having recurrent abdominal pain if they met Apley´s criteria: at least 3 attacks of pain; pain severe enough to affect activities; attacks occurring over a period of 3 months; and no known organic cause.

Overall, 24% of the children had recurrent abdominal pain, Dr. Malaty reported. "Age, sex and, other variables couldn't explain that high incidence, so we looked at diet as a possible cause."The study showed that consumption of fruits and vegetables "was the biggest risk factor," she said. Specifically, eating fresh fruits and vegetables was associated with an odds ratio of 2.2. This was significant at the P =.01 level, she said.

Children who ate daily in fast-food restaurants, on the other hand, had about 50% more episodes of abdominal pain than those who ate fast food only once per week, Dr. Malaty reported. "The more fast food they ate, the greater the chance they suffered recurrent abdominal pain," she added.

Lee Kaplan, MD, PhD, director of the Obesity Research Center and director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Weight Center in Boston, Massachusetts, United States, said, "People talk a lot about natural foods with fiber and how that might be more healthy. But data proving that has been scarce, even though it seems logical."This research actually demonstrates that link. It is seminal work that points to the importance of nutrition in human health," said Dr. Kaplan, who moderated a press conference to discuss the findings.

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