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Raised BMI increases symptoms of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease

A questionnaire undertaken in Boston, USA and published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found that BMI is closely associated with gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, and that even a moderate weight gain in those of normal weight can cause or increase symptoms.

The questionnaire was completed by 10,545 women in 2000, with 22 per cent of respondents reporting symptoms of reflux disease at least once a week. Researchers also found that increasing BMI increased the likelihood of frequent reflux symptoms. The figures showed that compared to women with a BMI of 20.0–22.4, the ratios of frequency of reflux symptoms were 0.67 for a BMI <20.0, 1.38 for a BMI of 22.5–24.9, 2.20 for a BMI of 25.0–27.4, 2.43 for a BMI of 27.5–29.9, 2.92 for a BMI of 30.0–34.9 and 2.93 for a BMI of >35.0

In addition, even in women with a normal baseline BMI, an increase of BMI of 3.5 or more compared to those with no weight gain, showed an increased ratio of 2.80 of frequent symptoms of reflux.


Jacobson B, Somers S et al.

Body-Mass Index and Symptoms of

Gastroesophageal Reflux in Women.

N Eng J Med 2006;354:2340–8

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