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Extremely obese children have 40 percent higher risk of reflux disease of esophagus
Date:7/8/2010

July 9, 2010 (PASADENA, Calif.) Extremely obese children have a 40 percent higher risk of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and children who are moderately obese have a 30 percent higher risk of GERD compared to normal weight children, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published online in the International Journal of Pediatric Obesity.

This large population-based study establishes an association between obesity and GERD in children, an association that has been previously reported in adults. GERD can lead to decreased quality of life, chronic respiratory conditions, and increased risk for cancer of the esophagus (the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach) if it persists through adulthood.

Researchers used electronic health records to conduct a cross-sectional study of 690,321 children aged 2 19 years who were members of the Kaiser Permanente Southern California integrated health plan in 2007 and 2008.

About 8 to 25 percent of children in the U.S. may be affected by frequent symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux, depending upon their age and body mass index. GERD is a chronic condition in which the liquid content of the stomach flows up in to the esophagus. This can inflame and damage the lining of the esophagus. GERD may be responsible for an increased occurrence of coughs, asthma, and inflammation of the larynx. Left untreated, GERD may result in chronic esophageal inflammation and lasting damage to the esophagus. Cancer of the esophagus is the nation's fastest growing cancer and is expected to double in frequency in the next 20 years -- unlike most other cancers, which are decreasing in frequency. Researchers suspect this rise is due in part to the nation's obesity epidemic.

"Childhood obesity, especially extreme childhood obesity, comes with a high risk for many serious health consequences such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. The takeaway message of our study is that G
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Contact: Danielle Cass
danielle.x.cass@kp.org
510-267-5354
Kaiser Permanente
Source:Eurekalert

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