Age and excess weight ‘can cause reflux’

Age and excess weight ‘can cause reflux’

Preventing abdominal obesity in the elderly population can reduce the risk of reflux, research suggests.


A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine ( ) highlights the significance of preventing abdominal obesity among the elderly population as a crucial step in reducing the risk of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and minimizing the need for medical support.


The research emphasizes that a high waist-to-hip (WHR) ratio, coupled with aging, significantly increases the vulnerability to GERD. While obesity has long been linked to heightened GERD symptoms, the study underscores that abdominal obesity, also known as central obesity, has a more direct correlation with reflux symptoms than the peripheral deposition of fat.


To identify abdominal obesity, one can use a waist circumference of more than 88 cm (35 inches) in women and more than 102 cm (40 inches) in men.


Key Findings:

The study observed a noteworthy trend: a higher proportion of older participants exhibited symptoms of GERD. Additionally, a higher proportion of participants with a high WHR were found to have GERD.


The risk of GERD was found to be higher in participants who were older or had a higher WHR compared to those without either condition.


Impact of Aging on Reflux:

The research explains that elderly individuals undergo lifestyle changes that can exacerbate reflux, including reduced mobility, the development of obesity, an increased sedentary lifestyle, and increased recumbency due to comorbid illnesses such as cerebrovascular disease, dementia, and pulmonary disease.


Connection between Obesity and Reflux:

Several hypotheses were proposed to explain the association between central obesity and GERD:


The lower oesophageal sphincter, a physiological barrier preventing reflux, is affected . A higher WHR increases intra-gastric pressure, leading to the relaxation of the lower oesophageal sphincter.


Hiatal hernia formation and enlargement are identified as potential contributors to GERD.



The study concludes that the combination of aging and a high WHR significantly raises the risk of GERD and negatively impacts the quality of life for elderly individuals. As aging is an unavoidable event, the prevention of abdominal obesity emerges as a vital aspect of caring for the elderly, with profound implications for GERD risk reduction and overall well-being.


If you suspect you have reflux, it's important to seek medical advice and explore diagnostic options like Peptest  to better understand and address this condition.


Get your reflux diagnosed 






#Lifestyl- and- Reflux

#Weight and Reflux

#Age and Reflux

Back to blog