Corn? When did I eat corn? Gastrointestinal transit time in health science students

Tuwilika P.T. Keendjele, Hilja H. Eelu, Tunelago E. Nashihanga, Timothy W. Rennie, Christian John Hunter·

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1 Citation (SciVal)


The objective of this study was to determine gastrointestinal transit time in first-year health science students with a laboratory practical exercise conducted in two cohorts (classes of 2018 and 2019) of first-year health sciences students at the Health Science Campus in Windhoek, Namibia. All first-year health science students undertaking the Physiology course were invited to take part in the laboratory exercise. The primary outcome was the measurement of gastrointestinal transit time from the amount of time taken for ingested whole-kernel sweetcorn to be eliminated, which was calculated as the time period between ingestion of corn and the time of corn first seen in the stool and the time corn was last seen in the stool. The secondary outcome was an association between emotional irritability and/or anxiety and gastrointestinal transit time. The study analyzed responses of 175 students, who reported a median transit time of 29 (1-99) h. There was no difference in gastrointestinal transit time between male and female students. Likewise, there was no difference in the duration of the corn in the bowel between male and female students. Students who reported being worried and irritable during the exercise had more bowel movements before they saw corn in their stool and had slower transit times, respectively. A wider range of transit time was reported in a group of young, healthy students compared with previous studies in the literature. There were no differences between male and female student bowel activity. Anxiety did impact the bowel activity of the participants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-108
Number of pages6
JournalAdvances in Physiology Education
Issue number1
Early online date5 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021


  • education
  • gastrointestinal
  • transit time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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