A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine contends that even slight weight gain can cause gastrointestinal problems. The research most directly points to the development of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Amanda Gardner of Healthday News reports:
"This sheds some light that any excess weight over ideal body weight may have a detrimental effect," said study author Dr. Brian Jacobson, an assistant professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine.
"Even if you were of normal weight and experienced a gain, you are more prone to reflux," added Dr. Anthony A. Starpoli, a gastroenterologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
GERD occurs when the valve between the stomach and the esophagus fails to close properly. As a result, the contents in the stomach, including stomach acid, can spill up into the esophagus, leading to erosion of the esophagus and, in some cases, esophageal cancer.
Researchers have already established that overweight and obese people are at an increased risk for GERD, but there have been questions about the link between body-mass index (BMI) and GERD.