Risk for GI Symptoms Increases with Obesity

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Obesity has reached epidemic proportions. The relationship between obesityand gastrointestinal (GI) tract symptomatology, however, remains poorlyunderstood.

In the September 2004 issue of The American Journal of Gastroenterology,Silvia Delgado-Aros, MD, PhD, and colleagues reported the results of theirstudy on the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and specific GIsymptoms in individuals in the community. Results from 1963 residents of OlmstedCounty, Minn, demonstrated that the prevalence of obesity(BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2) in this group was 23%. Positive correlations were notedbetween BMI and frequent vomiting (P = .02), upper abdominal pain (P = .03),bloating (P = .002), and diarrhea (P = .01). Although the prevalence of lowerabdominal pain, nausea, and constipation increased with increasing BMI, nosignificant associations between BMI and these symptoms were found.

The authors concluded that increased BMI is associated with an increase inupper GI symptoms, bloating, and diarrhea. They noted, however, that causeand-effect relationships and the mechanisms of these associations require furtherinvestigation.