• adolescent;
  • association study;
  • asthma;
  • ethnicity;
  • food allergy;
  • gastroesophageal reflux disease


Background and Aims

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is common in adults, and there are increasing secular trends in adult GERD morbidity in many countries. However, population-based study on adolescent GERD was very limited. The specific aims of the study were to explore the prevalence and determinant of GERD symptoms in adolescents.


A population-based association study was performed on 1828 students aged 13–16 years from four public junior high schools in Taiwan. The presences of symptoms of GERD, asthma and food allergy, demographic characteristics, and health behaviors were obtained by structured questionnaires.


Complete information of symptoms of GERD and asthma were available for 1745 (95.5%) students. The cumulative and 3-month prevalence rates of GERD symptoms were 20.5% and 8.9%, respectively. Multivariate-adjusted odds ratio of having experienced GERD symptoms were 1.53 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.18–1.98) for ever smoking, 1.52 (95% CI: 1.12–2.26) for bi-ethnicity, 1.70 (95% CI: 1.26–2.29) for food allergy, and 3.59 (95% CI: 2.69–4.82) and 2.43 (95% CI: 1.67–3.53) for having asthma attacks within or more than 1 year before, respectively. Similar results were found for 3-month prevalence.


The study showed that GERD symptoms were frequent in junior high school students in Taiwan. Food allergy, asthma, and cigarette smoking were independently correlated with the prevalence of GERD symptoms. Psychosocial factors associated with bi-ethnic family may contribute to its development.