The medical kit ‘our kids should be getting too’

VERY young children are presenting to health departments so badly constipated they require a medical bowel washout, a Queensland university professor and former paediatric nurse says.

Poor nutrition, processed foods, a lack of vegetables and water and sedentary lifestyle are badly impacting the health of Queensland children, with almost a third suffering problem constipation.

Professor Kerry Reid-Searl from Central Queensland University and adjunct professor at Monash University has rolled out a pilot program for bowel kits for kids.

"If adults can receive a bowel-testing kit, why can't Aussie kids have a junior version which can help to address bowel issues by showing what a perfect sausage poo looks like," she said.

"There is nothing that kids love more than poo stories and jokes, but it is time to educate them of the importance of healthy movements.

"The 'Poop-it Kit' would have poo-related stories, wall posters, poo-shaped cartoon characters, a Monopoly-style game, a colouring-in book, a whoopie cushion and an apron with a map of the digestive system."

The plan is to get kids to aspire to eat healthy foods, plenty of water and exercise so they can celebrate a healthy toilet deposit.

One-quarter of kids with bowel problems will grow up with these problems.

The professor says there is also some evidence to suggest that very constipated children can struggle with learning.

The kit will include a poster for the back of the toilet door and a stars-based reward system for avoiding problem poos.

"Our core message is to 'eat your veggies and fruit as well, water to drink because your poos can tell'," she said.

Professor Reid-Searl has a small grant to develop pilot versions of the Poop-it Kit. Undergraduate nursing students will help introduce them to children.

The aim is for larger production runs of the kits to one day reach children through hospitals, health clinics, schools and parents.