Severely Obese People at Significantly Higher Risk of Developing GERD

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Severely obese people are at significantly higher risk of developing a chronic acid reflux condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), according to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The report is based on a study conducted in Norway in which 3,113 people who said they had recurrent, severe heartburn or acid regurgitation during the prior 12 months were compared to 39,872 people who reported no such symptoms.

The link between obesity and GERD was greatest in women. Those with a body mass index (BMI) of more than 35, considered severely obese, were more than six times as likely to have GERD as women with a normal BMI of less than 25.

Men with a BMI over 35 were more than three times as likely to have GERD as those with a BMI of less than 25.

“Our large, population-based study provides evidence of a dose-dependent association between increasing body mass and the risk of gastroesophageal reflux symptoms,” the researchers concluded.

Source: Medical Week staff, week of July 6,2003

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