Infant Feeding Practices and the Effect in Reducing Functional Constipation 6 Years Later: A Randomized Field Trial

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Objective:The aim of this study is to assess the impact of health worker training on infant feeding practices on the prevalence of functional constipation (FC) among children at 6 years of age.Methods:Cluster randomized field trial conducted in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Health centers were randomly allocated into intervention (n = 9) or control (n = 11) groups. In intervention sites, health workers joined training sessions on the “Ten Steps for Healthy Feeding for Children from Birth to Two Years of age”. Pregnant women in the last trimester of both groups were identified, invited to participate and enrolled in the study as the potential mothers to receive the dietary counseling provided by the health workers. At 6 years of age, the prevalence of FC was evaluated based on Rome III, defined by 2 or more of the following: infrequent defecation, fecal incontinence, history of retentive posturing, or/and history of painful defecation.Results:Among 387 mother-child pairs (206 intervention, 181 control) evaluated at 6 years of age, the prevalence of FC was lower in the intervention group compared with the control group (15.0% vs 23.9%, respectively). The probability of being constipated was 38% lower in the intervention group (PR = 0.62; 95% CI 0.44–0.87; P < 0.01).Conclusion:The health workers training to promote the “Ten Steps” was an effective way to reduce the prevalence of constipation among children at 6 years of age.

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