Obesity and Acid Reflux: Get the Facts

  • Despite widespread publicity, the obesity epidemic is only worsening.  According to the CDC, 30 percent of adults in the U.S. are now obese.  Childhood obesity has more than doubled and adolescent obesity has quadrupled in the last 30 years.  These statistics are staggering and will undoubtedly lead to an increase in obesity-related death and disease (1).

    So, What Exactly is Obesity?

    Obesity is a medical condition characterized by having an excessive amount of body fat.  

    How is Obesity Determined?

    Obesity is most often determined by Body Mass Index (BMI).  BMI is a measure of a person's height relative to their weight.  While BMI does not directly measure body fat, it is a good indicator for most people.  To calculate your body fat, try this BMI Calculator.  If your BMI is 18.5 or below, you are considered underweight, 18.5-24.9 is considered normal, 25-29.9 is considered overweight and any BMI above 30 is considered obese.

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    How Does Obesity Affect Acid Reflux?

    Acid reflux disease is one of many diseases than can be made worse by obesity.  Extra body weight puts added pressure on the stomach and LES.  This pressure pushes stomach contents further up into the esophagus frequently.  Added exposure to acid in the esophagus causes more symptoms, makes acid reflux harder to treat, and increases the risk of complications like esophagitis and Barrett's esophagus.

    Where Do I Start?

    Most studies show that even a modest weight loss of 3-5 percent of body weight can have a positive affect on your health.  For a 200-pound person that would mean loosing 10 pounds.  There are many tools online that can help you plan and track your diet and exercise.  Some of the best ones are even FREE!  A few of my favorites trackers are Spark People and MyFitnessPalFitness Blender also has some wonderful free workouts.

Published On: September 18, 2014