Does Standing Up While Eating Help?

by Tracy Davenport, Ph.D. Health Writer

My son with reflux is now 6 years old. For the past several years, it seems my husband and I never get to the end of a meal without arguing with our son about sitting down while he finishes eating, because without fail, after the first half of his meal, my son always jumps up from his chair and begins to walk around the table, telling us that he is uncomfortable sitting down. My husband and I always attributed this behavior to the fact that our son is extremely active, and we figured that he was getting up from his chair early just because he was ready to move on to the next activity. However, a few weeks ago, after talking to my sister who also lives with reflux, we began to reconsider our son's habit of standing up before his meal was over.

My sister had called and said that, "My reflux was so bad one day that I couldn't even sit down while I ate, and the only way I could finish my meal was to stand up and eat" This was the first I had ever heard from an adult that standing up while eating could help ease the reflux symptoms.

In preparing this SharePost, I searched the scholarly literature and did not find any empirical evidence supporting the idea of standing while eating. Of course there was a lot of information available about the benefits of sitting up after eating to ease reflux symptoms, but nothing on standing up during a meal. However, I am well aware that individuals who live with or care for someone with a disease are often ahead of those in the research community when it comes to understanding the various dimensions of the disease. So, like other aspects of acid reflux, I am keeping my mind open to the possibilities.

It makes sense to me that by standing up during a meal, an individual might be making use of that wonderful natural force, gravity, to keep the stomach contents in the stomach, while at the same time elongating the esophagus and taking a bit of pressure off of the stomach.

So now I must ask, have any of you ever heard of standing up while eating benefiting any one who lives with acid reflux (besides from the two people in my family)?

Tracy Davenport, Ph.D.
Meet Our Writer
Tracy Davenport, Ph.D.

Davenport is the founder of Using the latest scientific research, she helps people live their healthiest lives via one-on-one coaching, corporate talks, and sharing the more than 1,000 health-related articles she's authored.