Increasing Number of Children Are Battling Acid Reflux

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More kids are battling acid reflux because of poor diet, doctors say.
A growing number of children are battling acid reflux. Dieticians say the problem is linked to poor diet and lifestyle choices.

A shift in diet

In our fast-paced world, children’s diets are suffering, dietitians say.

“Over the past two years I’ve been seeing much more of this on a daily basis than I was seeing in prior years,” said Kristi L. King, a registered dietitian and nutritionist and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Routines now include skipping breakfast, snacking on high-fat foods, drinking sugary beverages and eating close to bedtime. All of these habits are contributing to the increasing number of children with digestion issues, dietitians say.

“Kids are really suffering from the way their diets have changed. I see patients who think a hamburger, french fries and a pop are a meal,” said Dr. Wendy Anderson-Willis, a pediatrician with Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

A change in diet can drastically improve acid reflux. In some cases, it can eliminate it all together. While there are medications that can treat acid reflux, like Nexium, doctors prefer children to make dietary changes rather than prescribe medication.

Changing your child’s eating habits
Changes in diet could alleviate acid reflux, doctors say.

Changes in diet could alleviate acid reflux, doctors say.
To get your child’s diet back on track, you’ll want to make sure they eat breakfast. Keep healthy snacks on hand. Fruits are a great addition to any diet, but many contain acid so keep less acidic fruits on hand like apples or bananas. Make sure dinner includes a healthy helping of veggies.

You can also offer smaller meals to combat acid reflux.

“I suggest having the same amount of food, but smaller meals so the stomach doesn’t overfill, leading to acid reflux. Smaller, frequent meals are important in the treatment of GERD,” Anderson-Willis said.

When adjusting your child’s diet, understand that it is a trial and error process. It will take some time to find the right combination of food, Anderson-Willis says.

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