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May 24, 2022

Professor gives us the scoop on poop

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The Little Poos from the ‘Poop-it Kit’. Photo supplied.

A professor’s toilet humour is something important for all Aussie kids

The professor at CQUniversity Australia is asking: 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?

Professor Kerry Reid-Searl, of CQUniversity Australia loves to talk about poop. Photo supplied.

One of Australia’s most unconventional health researchers, Professor Kerry Reid-Searl, of CQUniversity says she wants to help wipe away many of the bowel issues, such as constipation, plaguing up to 30 per cent of children. ‘Of course, the Poop-it Kit will have poo-related stories, wall posters, poo-shaped cartoon characters, a Monopoly-style game, a colouring-in book, a whoopee cushion and an apron with a map of the digestive system.

Reid-Searl says some individuals may have pooh-poohed the idea but she loves being involved in research projects where the outcomes have real-world benefits, ‘The key is getting kids to aspire to healthy foods, plenty of water and exercise to promote healthy bowel functioning.

Children love to talk about bums and poos and farts, so this kit is just as much about getting adults comfortable talking to them about bowel health.

Reid-Searl says the Poop it Kit  Family cartoon characters will range from rabbit droppings to gravy types, with the hero as a perfect sausage shape. These have been adapted from the Bristol Stool chart.

The ultimate poop, ‘Sausagena Sausage’ the the type of poop we are aiming for. Photo supplied.

‘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 cause your poos can tell”.’

Professor Reid-Searl has already taken her health simulation masks and body parts and her hospital ward puppets across the globe through the MASK-ED™ and Pup-Ed (KRS simulation) programs. 

Now she has a small grant to develop pilot versions of the Poop-it Kit. Undergraduate nursing students will help introduce them to children, drawing on help from Pup-Ed characters. 

Larger production runs of the kits could one day reach children through hospitals, health clinics, schools and parents.

Professor Reid-Searl says that, in her previous role as a paediatric nurse, she encountered many children with constipation and other bowel problems and parents have reported that the related psychosocial issues can be significant.





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