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J Am Diet Assoc. 2003 Sep;103(9):1199-202.

Increased stool frequency occurs when finely processed pea hull fiber is added to usual foods consumed by elderly residents in long-term care.

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College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada.


Dietary fiber fortification of food offers a preventative strategy that is a less invasive alternative to laxatives and enemas in the management of constipation in elderly individuals. To determine if a moderate increase in fiber provided in foods would increase bowel movement frequency among elderly institutionalized residents, data were collected on the same elderly residents (n=114) before and during a 6-week intervention. The intervention consisted of adding finely processed pea hull fiber (1-3 g/serving) to 3 to 4 foods each day. Laxative and enema use was monitored. Mean number of bowel movements/month increased from 18.7+/-9.4 to 20.1+/-9.6 (n=114, P=.034), and in 17 residents with low baseline frequency, the increase was highly significant (8.8+/-1.0 to 12.6+/-3.8 bowel movements/month, P=.001). With treatment, prune-based laxative administration decreased (P<.001). Thus, addition of a moderate amount of finely processed fiber to foods results in increased bowel frequency in institutionalized elderly individuals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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