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 17 January 2018

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News

Body-mass index and gastroesophageal reflux in women

Body-mass index is associated with symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease in both normal-weight and overweight women, find researchers in the New England Journal of Medicine.

News image

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Overweight and obese persons have an increased risk of gastroesophageal reflux disease.

However, an association between body-mass index (BMI) and gastroesophageal reflux disease in normal weight individuals has not been demonstrated.

In this study, researchers from Boston, USA, determined the frequency, severity, and duration of symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease in randomly selected women.

Moderate weight gain may cause or exacerbate reflux symptoms.
New England Journal of Medicine

The team categorized the women using their BMI from 2 years previously.

They then used logistic-regression models to study the association between BMI and symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Of the 10,545 women included in the study, 22% reported having symptoms at least once a week, of these, 55%described their symptoms as moderate.

The team observed a dose-dependent relationship between increasing BMI and frequent reflux symptoms.

When compared with women who had a BMI of 20 - 22.4, the multivariate odds ratios for frequent symptoms were:

● 0.67 for a BMI of less than 20
● 1.38 for a BMI of 22.5 - 24.9
● 2.20 for a BMI of 25 - 27.4
● 2.43 for a BMI of 27.5 - 29.9
● 2.92 for a BMI of 30 to 34.9
● 2.93 for a BMI of 35 or more.

Furthermore, in women with a normal baseline BMI, an increase in BMI of more than 3.5 was associated with an increased risk of frequent symptoms of reflux.

Dr Brian Jacobson's team concluded, "BMI is associated with symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease in both normal-weight and overweight women".

"Even moderate weight gain among persons of normal weight may cause or exacerbate symptoms of reflux".

N Engl J Med 2006; 354(22): 2340-8
07 June 2006

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