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Am J Gastroenterol. 2005 Jan;100(1):124-9.

Is constipation associated with decreased physical activity in normally active subjects?

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V.A. Medical Center and University of Utah, 30 N 1900 E, Salt Lake City, UT 84132, USA.



The effectiveness of physical activity in the management of constipation remains controversial. We examined the associations among physical activity, constipation, and quality of life (QoL) in a population of employed adults to determine whether the risk of constipation is related to physical activity.


A total of 1,069 employees (age range 24-77) of the Veterans Affairs (VA) Black Hills Health Care System were mailed validated questionnaires (response rate 72%), inquiring about bowel habits, QoL (SF 36), and physical activity (modified Baecke questionnaire). Constipation was defined using the Rome I criteria.


One hundred and forty (19.4%, 95% CI 16.2-22.4) employees reported constipation. The average total physical activity and all subscales of physical activity were not significantly different in subjects with and without constipation (all p > or = 0.2). Subjects with constipation had lower QoL scores than subjects without constipation, and physical activity was positively correlated with physical functioning and health perception.


Physical activity appears to be unrelated to the risk of constipation in employed adults, but higher physical activity was associated with improved QoL. Recommendations to increase physical activity may not alter symptoms of constipation but may improve overall well-being.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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