Gastroenterologists from Johns Hopkins University are reporting something I don’t find surprising at all—kids are experiencing more serious and chronic bouts of constipation. Why? Lack of physical activity, inadequate water intake and fiber-poor diets are the biggest culprits.

As I said, it’s not surprising. Traditional medicine defines constipation in children as three or fewer bowel movements per week, for at least three months (not necessarily consecutive) per year. They say that these children need to be treated early and aggressively. They also say, “no amount of fiber or prune juice will help a child with serious chronic constipation.”

Wanna know what I say? I say if children are not experiencing a bowel movement every day, they are constipated. If they miss a day, they are constipated and should be treated for it.  How’s that for early? Sure, if a child is only having three bowel movements per week for three months, fiber and prune juice might not be enough. But more importantly, we need to not let the problem get that far. In fact, it starts in infancy, with a proper diet (including plenty of breast milk!).

One bowel movement daily—that should be the norm, OK?

The researchers do recommend plenty of water intake, plenty of exercise, a high-fiber diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and a diet low in processed foods and foods that are high in fat and sugar. They also recommend the use of a stool or box to prop up legs into a more natural position.  They also stress the importance of teaching kids to never “hold” or ignore the urge to move the bowels.