Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 53, Issue 9, pp 2307–2312 | Cite as

The Association Between Obesity and GERD: A Review of the Epidemiological Evidence

  • Hashem El-SeragEmail author


The current epidemics of obesity and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)-related disorders have generated much interest in studying the association between them. Results of multiple studies indicate that obesity satisfies several criteria for a causal association with GERD and some of its complications, including a generally consistent association with GERD symptoms, erosive esophagitis, and esophageal adenocarcinoma. An increase in GERD symptoms has been shown to occur in individuals who gain weight but continue to have a body mass index (BMI) in the normal range, contributing to the epidemiological evidence for a possible dose–response relationship between BMI and increasing GERD. Data are less clear on the relationship between Barrett’s esophagus (BE) and obesity. However, when considered separately, abdominal obesity seems to explain a considerable part of the association with GERD, including BE. Overall, epidemiological data show that maintaining a normal BMI may reduce the likelihood of developing GERD and its potential complications.


Gastroesophageal reflux disease Obesity Body mass index Epidemiology 



Dr. El-Serag has served as a consultant for TAP Pharmaceuticals, AstraZeneca, Eisai, and Novartis.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Sections of Gastroenterology and Health Services ResearchThe Houston Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Baylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA
  2. 2.The Houston Veterans Affairs Medical Center (152)HoustonUSA

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