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Total and Abdominal Obesity Are Risk Factors for Gastroesophageal Reflux Symptoms in Children

Quitadamo, Paolo; Buonavolontà, Roberta; Miele, Erasmo; Masi, Paola; Coccorullo, Paola; Staiano, Annamaria

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition: July 2012 - Volume 55 - Issue 1 - p 72–75
doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e3182549c44
Original Articles: Gastroenterology

Objectives: The association between GERD and obesity has been frequently reported in adults. Data in children are scarce and inconclusive, evaluating only general obesity. Central adiposity has never been investigated in children as a possible risk factor for GERD. The aims of the present study were to evaluate the prevalence of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms in overweight and obese children in comparison with a general normal-weight population and whether the GERD symptoms are associated with waist circumference (WC).

Methods: The study population consisted of 153 healthy children. A detailed clinical history and a physical examination were obtained from each patient. A questionnaire on reflux symptoms was completed by caregivers.

Results: The reflux symptomatic score resulted significantly higher in obese than in normal-weight children and in children with WC >90th percentile compared with those with WC <75th percentile.

Conclusions: These preliminary data show that both total and abdominal obesity are risk factors for the development of GERD symptoms in children. The risk of GERD symptoms rises progressively with the increase in both body mass index and waist circumference, even in normal-weight children.

Department of Pediatrics, University “Federico II,” Naples, Italy.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Annamaria Staiano, MD, Department of Pediatrics, University Federico II, Via S. Pansini, 5, 80131 Naples, Italy (e-mail:

Received 19 June, 2011

Accepted 18 January, 2012

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Copyright 2012 by ESPGHAN and NASPGHAN