Relationship between body mass and gastro-oesophageal reflux symptoms: The Bristol Helicobacter Project
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OBJECTIVE: To examine the relationship between body mass and gastro-oesophageal reflux in a large population-representative sample from the UK. DESIGN AND SETTING: Cross-sectional population-based study, as part of a randomized controlled trial of eradication of Helicobacter pylori infection, in Southwest England. Subjects In all, 10 537 subjects, aged 20-59 years, were recruited from seven general practices. Subjects provided data on frequency and severity of dyspeptic symptoms and anthropometric measurements were taken. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Relationship between overweight (body mass index [BMI] >/=25 kg/m(2) and =30 kg/m(2)) or obesity (BMI >30 kg/m(2)) and frequency and severity of heartburn and acid regurgitation. RESULTS: Body mass index was strongly positively related to the frequency of symptoms of gastro-oesophageal reflux. The adjusted odds ratios (OR) for frequency of heartburn and acid regurgitation occurring at least once a week in overweight participants compared with those of normal weight were 1.82 (95% CI: 1.33-2.50) and 1.50 (95% CI: 1.13-1.99) respectively. Corresponding OR (95% CI) relating to obese patients were 2.91 (95% CI: 2.07-4.08) and 2.23 (95% CI: 1.44-3.45) respectively. The OR for moderate to severe reflux symptoms were raised in overweight and obese subjects but not to the same extent as frequency of symptoms and only the relationship between obesity and severity of heartburn reached conventional statistical significance: OR = 1.19; 95% CI: 1.07-1.33. CONCLUSIONS: Being above normal weight substantially increases the likelihood of suffering from heartburn and acid regurgitation and obese people are almost three times as likely to experience these symptoms as those of normal weight.
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