Updated 30th March 2023

The Big Poo Review: How to get involved in the U.K.’s largest gut health and bowel habit survey

Written byYella Hewings-Martin, PhD
Reviewed byWill Bulsiewicz, MD, MSCI

Talking about bowel habits is generally off-limits in most conversations – unless you spend time around small children, who don’t seem to mind talking about the contents of their nappies, potties or the loo. 

Yet, everybody poos. And your bowel habits are intricately linked to your health. 

At ZOE, we’re no strangers to talking about gut health. We love the trillions of bacteria and other microbes that inhabit our guts, collectively called the gut microbiome. We even write articles about some of the ‘good’ bugs that might call your gut home.

With our latest study, we want to break the taboo around poo. 

So, what is The Big Poo Review, and how can you get involved?

We’re inviting all contributors to take part in The Big Poo Review survey to understand our bowel habits. You can join the study here. 

The Big Poo Review

Our understanding of what constitutes ‘normal’ bowel habits is surprisingly patchy, and most of it’s based on small surveys. 

The piece of research that scientists most commonly mention is a study that dates back 20 years. 

In it, 1,057 women (aged 25–69) and 832 men (aged 40–69) who were predominantly white and lived in Bristol filled in a four-question survey about their bowel habits. 

Another study, which included 9,743 people in the United States, looked at whether a vegetarian diet impacts bowel habits.   

We want to know more.

For The Big Poo Review, we’re partnering with Channel 4’s Steph’s Packed Lunch to spread the word across the United Kingdom. We’re asking as many people as possible to get involved to help advance our understanding of gut health. 

This is important because bowel problems are incredibly common. And knowing what’s ‘normal’ and what’s not can help identify these problems.

How can you get involved?

All contributors over 18 can join the study.

Click on the 'Take part now' button in The Big Poo Review section of the ZOE Health Study app

We’ll ask you a series of questions about how often you poo, what your poo looks like and some further details about your gut health and bowel habits. It should take around 5 minutes to complete the survey. 

If you aren’t already a regular contributor to the ZOE Health study, you can still join. Head to www.bigpooreview.com, where you’ll have the option to consent to taking part in the study. 

You’ll then be asked to submit your email so we can send you a unique survey link.

Once you’ve received your survey link, click on it to fill in the questionnaire and contribute to the U.K.’s largest bowel habits survey. 

We’re excited to share our findings with you in the coming weeks and months. Thank you for taking part!