Early-Life Gut Health Indicators and Reported Prevalence of Infant Functional Constipation by Healthcare Professionals

Leilani Muhardi, Dianne J.M. Delsing, Irina Zakharova, Koen Huysentruyt, Sze Yee Chong, Ruey Terng Ng, Andy Darma, Badriul Hegar, Mohammed Hasosah, Erick Toro-Monjaraz, Merih Cetinkaya, Chung Mo Chow, Marion M. Aw, Urszula Kudla, Louise Naz West, Yvan Vandenplas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A healthy gut during early childhood is important. However, it seems that there are no standard indicators used to assess it. Healthcare professionals (HCPs) were asked via an electronic survey question about gut health indicators (GHIs) for infants and toddlers, in addition to an estimated prevalence of infant’s functional constipation (FC) and its management. HCPs from eight countries participated in the survey (Russia (66.0%, 1449), Indonesia (11.0%, 242), Malaysia (6.0%, 132), Mexico (5.7%, 125), KSA (5.1%, 113), Turkey (3.0%, 66), Hong Kong (2.2%, 49), and Singapore (1.0%, 23)). The 2199 participating respondents were further classified into three continents (Asia (20.2%), Europe (68.8%), and others (11.0%)). Most of them were pediatricians (80.3%), followed by pediatric gastroenterologists (7.0%), general practitioners (6.4%), and others (6.3%). The top three preferred GHIs were similar for infants and toddlers: an absence of gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, effective digestion/absorption as assessed by normal growth, and a general feeling of well-being. The absence of GI-related infection was the least preferred indicator. Most of the respondents reported the prevalence of FC among infants was less than 5%, with the peak incidence between the ages of 3 and 6 months. The reported choices of intervention to manage FC in infants were a change to a specific nutritional solution from a standard formula (40.2%), parental reassurance (31.7%), and lactulose (17.0%). Conclusion: The HCPs in the eight countries preferred the absence of GI symptoms, normal growth for effective digestion and absorption, and general well-being as the gut health indicators in infants and toddlers. The reported prevalence of FC in infants was less than 5%.

Original languageEnglish
Article number298
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • e-survey
  • gut health indicators
  • healthcare professionals
  • infant
  • toddlers


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