The association between obesity and GERD: a review of the epidemiological evidence

Dig Dis Sci. 2008 Sep;53(9):2307-12. doi: 10.1007/s10620-008-0413-9. Epub 2008 Jul 24.


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.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Barrett Esophagus / epidemiology
  • Barrett Esophagus / physiopathology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Esophagitis / epidemiology
  • Esophagitis / physiopathology
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / epidemiology*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Risk Factors