Reflux common in obesity

Reflux common in obesity

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) affects as many as 20% of the population. A number of studies shows that obesity in adults is associated with reflux symptoms. Similar studies in children have been inconclusive–until now. 

Researchers evaluated all the children referred to the general pediatric clinic at their hospital over a 6-month period. They measured each child, took a careful medical history  and recorded all of their reflux symptoms during the previous 2 months. 

 Their findings were not unexpected. Obese and overweight children had significantly more reflux symptoms than those of normal weight. The findings were the same using waist size or Body Mass Index (BMI).

BOTTOM LINE: Even moderate weight gain seems to increase the tendency for developing GERD. Obesity has a much higher likelihood that reflux will develop.

It might be worthwhile to focus attention on the discomfort of reflux to help children who are overweight/obese understand the consequences of their weight. Reflux is easier to understand than the future risks of diabetes, high blood pressure, liver and heart disease.

*P Quitadamo, JPGN 55:72-75, 2013.