Students at French primary schools avoid using restrooms because of their poor sanitary conditions, a government-sponsored study said, prompting a parents' group on Tuesday to call for action.
During the 2005-06 school year, 'nearly half of students said they had stomach aches because they were not able to go to the toilet,' according to the report by the National Observatory of Building Security looking at school bathroom habits of nine- and 10-year-olds.
Odor, at 73 percent, and a lack of cleanliness, at 57 percent, were the main reasons named by students for shunning restrooms, said the study commissioned by France's education ministry.
The report showed a significant portion of students exhibited conditions such as urinary infections that appeared related to not going to the bathroom often enough.
France's main association for students' parents welcomed the report and said in a statement that the issue should be 'treated as a real question of public health.'
The association demanded 'an education policy on hygiene that includes children, parents, teachers, and service and health personnel.'