GERD is Now a Common Childhood Ailment in American Overweight Youth

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A study at the Baylor College of Medicine and research published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology confirms that as America’s childhood obesity rate has escalated, so have the incidences of gastrointestinal disorders in young people. The Children’s Obesity Fund and its co-founders Julian Omidi and Michael Omidi, M.D. want parents to know that conditions such as GERD that begin in childhood can become serious life-long health issues.

If kids can't be healthy, they can't be successful.

“Now that a greater proportion of kids are suffering from obesity than ever before, GERD has surprisingly become common, says Dr. Michael Omidi, co-founder of the Children’s Obesity Fund. "Unfortunately, GERD is something that can have a corrosive impact on an adult’s health if not addressed by either healthy lifestyle choices or medical intervention.”

Obese children are at increased risk for adult health problems including diabetes and high blood pressure. We tend to think of GERD as another condition primarily suffered by adults. However, research from a study at the Baylor College of Medicine now links childhood obesity to gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD. A recent report published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology confirms that acid reflux can occur in children suffering from obesity.

Babies spit up; that’s just what they do. Every new parent keeps a towel draped over their shoulders to catch the inevitable spit up when picking up a new baby that has just fed. Because the human gastrointestinal tract is not fully formed until nearly a year after birth, babies commonly spit up directly after feeding, or whenever the infant coughs or has been jostled excessively.

Spitting up can be reduced if parents adjust feeding times and amounts. However, if there are additional symptoms such as reluctance to feed, trouble breathing, traces of blood in the spit up, or failure to “grow out of it,” there could be cause for concern about other digestive issues.

Persistent acid reflux can eventually lead to esophageal scarring later in life. Symptoms include heartburn, chest pain, bad breath and hoarseness. If dietary modifications are not successful, then prescription or over-the-counter antacids may be employed under a doctor’s supervision. Nevertheless, in less severe cases, the avoidance of acidic foods such as citrus, tomatoes, peppermint and caffeinated beverages can help. Regular exercise, proper hydration and a healthy diet can help adults and children either avoid or eliminate GERD.

Co-founded by Julian Omidi and Michael Omidi, M.D., the Children’s Obesity Fund ( hopes to help reverse the trend of rising obesity rates in America. The goal of the non-profit charity is to help people fully understand the obesity issue and its dire impacts on individuals and society as a whole -- and to use that knowledge to encourage children to grow up strong and healthy. Children’s Obesity Fund partners with other organizations to educate and support parents, educators and others so that we can all work together to raise healthy, active, social, and happy children. While the organization does not accept donations, it does encourage direct contributions of money and talents to the associations featured on our website. Children’s Obesity Fund is on Facebook at: and can also be found on Google+, Twitter and Pinterest.

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