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Waist Size, Not BMI, Linked to Barrett's Esophagus Risk

Increased risk appears when waist circumference passes 80 cm

FRIDAY, July 20 (HealthDay News) -- Although abdominal circumference is associated with the risk of Barrett's esophagus, a patient's body mass index, or BMI, has no independent association with the condition, according to the results of a case-control study published in the July issue of Gastroenterology.

Douglas A. Corley, M.D., Ph.D., of Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif., and colleagues analyzed data from 320 cases of Barrett's esophagus, 316 patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease and 317 controls. All subjects were taken from the Kaiser Permanente enrollee population.

The investigators found an association between an abdominal circumference greater than 80 cm and Barrett's esophagus, compared to the population controls (odds ratio, 2.24). The researchers found that BMI, when not adjusted for waist circumference, was not associated with the risk of Barrett's esophagus when compared to the population controls.

"The study indicates that abdominal fat is the key factor for the link between obesity and Barrett's esophagus," writes Jesper Lagergren, M.D., Ph.D., of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, in an accompanying editorial. "Abdominal fat distribution rather than BMI only might be a more appropriate measure of the link between body measures in relation to Barrett's esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma."

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