High Prevalence of Nausea among School Children in Latin America

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Abstract

Objectives

To evaluate the prevalence of nausea and its association with functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs) in a large-scale, population-based study of Latin American school children.

Study design

This cross-sectional study collected data from children in 3 Latin American countries. A Spanish version of the Questionnaire on Pediatric Gastrointestinal Symptoms-Rome III Version (QPGS-III) was administered to school children in Central and South America. Subjects were classified into FGIDs based on Rome criteria (QPGS-III). Students from 4 public and 4 private schools in the countries of El Salvador, Panama, and Ecuador participated in this epidemiologic study.

Results

A total of 1137 school children with mean age 11.5 (SD 1.9, range 8-15) years completed the QPGS-III (El Salvador n = 399; Panama n = 321; Ecuador n = 417). Nausea was present in 15.9% of all school children. Two hundred sixty-eight (24%) children met criteria for at least 1 FGID. Nausea was significantly more common in children with FGIDs compared with those without: El Salvador 38% vs 15% (P < .001); Panama 22% vs 7% (P < .001); Ecuador 25% vs 13% (P = .004). Among children with FGIDs, those with functional constipation had a high prevalence of nausea. Nausea was significantly more common in girls and children attending private schools.

Conclusions

Nausea is commonly present in Latin American school children. FGIDs are frequently associated with nausea.

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