After reading the recent research on acid reflux and childhood obesity, as well as the article written by our Health Central Expert Stephanie, I was concerned. As Stephanie mentioned, the pictures of lazy children eating their way into acid reflux is more than just a little misleading. In fact, it made me mad.
While it is safe to assume that the added weight is not likely to help a child dealing with acid reflux it is not safe to assume that it causes all cases of the disease. In part because we know that not every child who deals with acid reflux is obese. Some of the children I know with severe cases of acid reflux are actually too thin. One of my 8 year old daughter's best friends has significant GERD and is actually one of the tiniest kids in her class.
As a nutritionist I firmly believe that the childhood obesity epidemic is a big deal and needs to be addressed. There is not going to be an easy answer because we live in a society that has not made feeding our children healthy foods a priority. That having been said, it is not just the obese kids whose diets need to be changed. All children need to be fed, scratch that, have the RIGHT to be fed nourishing, healthy foods.
The "unhealthy eating epidemic" in this country needs to be addressed. While it may not "cure" everyone's acid reflux it would certianly help to prevent a lot of other illnesses. It is known that many children with acid reflux can benefit significantly by following a healthy diet that limits trigger foods and incorporates lots of healthy alternatives.
Our country is obsessed with obesity as a buzz word alone when what we should be focused on is healthy eating regardless of weight. For children with and for those without acid reflux.