Almost everyone suffers from occasional heartburn, even kids. However, if symptoms are persistent and occur two or more days a week, it could signify a condition known as acid reflux disease, commonly known as GERD, which affects roughly two to eight percent of children in the United States. A recent online survey conducted by StrategyOne found that GERD can have a significant impact on kids? lifestyles, and nearly four in ten (38%) parents wished they had more resources about GERD in children.
In order to educate families about identifying and managing this condition, AstraZeneca and Healthy Kids Challenge, have launched the ?Healthy Kids, Healthy Families? national GERD awareness program. The program?s Web site, www.HealthyKidz.com, provides information and tools to help parents better understand GERD and work with their child?s healthcare professional to develop a treatment plan.
?Symptoms of GERD can be difficult to identify, and it often goes undiagnosed as a result,? said Anthony Infantolino, MD, FACP, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.
?When parents are equipped with accurate, up-to-date information about GERD, they are able to take an active role in working with their child?s doctor to manage the condition, which may include lifestyle changes for the whole family.?
Additional Survey Results
Key findings from the online survey that polled 205 parents with children ages 1-17 to better understand parents? views, behavior, and knowledge regarding the impact GERD can have on their child:
Impact on Eating Habits
More than a quarter of parents (27%) surveyed said that planning meals for a child with GERD can be stressful.
Four in ten parents said keeping their kids away from foods that can aggravate symptoms is difficult.
According to parents, foods that are greasy (42%), spicy (41%), and fried (38%) are the most problematic and also the hardest for kids to avoid.
In addition to being common GERD triggers, greasy and fried foods can make it more difficult to maintain an ideal weight, another factor that can aggravate GERD symptoms.
Seven out of ten (72%) parents said their child?s eating habits have been affected by GERD, yet only half (51%) have changed the way their child eats to accommodate GERD limitations.
Impact on Lifestyle
More than half (53%) of parents reported that their child?s school performance had been affected by GERD in the past year, which evoked feelings of anxiety (40%), anger (40%), and depression (18%) in their kids.
Seven out of ten (69%) parents reported that GERD affected their child?s sleeping habits, and more than half (51%) said this led to feelings of anxiety, depression, or anger.
Nearly half (48%) of parents reported that their child?s social activities are sometimes affected by GERD.
?There are many steps families can take in an effort to lessen the occurrence of GERD symptoms, including changing the way they eat,? said Vickie James, Registered and Licensed Dietitian, Director of Healthy Kids Challenge. ?In addition to sharing quality time together, spending time preparing a meal as a family promotes healthy eating habits. Parents can visit www.HealthyKidz.com for recipe ideas, tips on lifestyle changes, and tools for talking with their child?s healthcare professional.?
The Healthy Kids Can Cook recipe contest is one way kids can get excited about GERD-friendly eating. Details about the contest can be found on www.HealthyKidz.com.
About Pediatric GERD
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly referred to as GERD, is a condition in which the contents of the stomach back up into the esophagus. GERD affects roughly seven million children, and manifests mostly as vomiting/regurgitation (at times, persistent), as well as decreased appetite or refusal to eat.1 Other conditions such as asthma also may be signs of the disease. Only a health care professional can diagnose GERD and recommend an appropriate treatment option for each individual child. For initial treatment of GERD, families should try lifestyle modifications, such as smaller, more frequent meals and avoiding certain foods.
About the Survey
The Parents? Perspectives on GERD survey was conducted by StrategyOne, an applied research consulting firm, on behalf of AstraZeneca. The online survey polled 205 parents of children ages 1-17 years old who suffer from GERD to better understand parents? views, behavior, and knowledge regarding their child?s condition. The survey, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 6.8 at the 95% level of confidence, was conducted using the field services of Harris Interactive during August 2006.
About Healthy Kids Challenge
Healthy Kids Challenge is an award winning national nonprofit organization with the mission to use everyday ways to guide schools, communities, and programs in creating solutions to help kids and families Connect Health And Needs, Get Excited (C.H.A.N.G.E). In 2003-04, Healthy Kids Challenge was the recipient of the American Dietetics Association Anita Owen award for the Most Innovative Educational Program. The same year Vickie James (R.D, L.D.) was honored by the ADA Foundation by being selected as the national recipient of the Award for Excellence in Community Dietetics. Currently Ms. James is a member of the ADA faculty for the Pediatric Weight Management Certification Training Program for Dietitians.
Since 1998, Healthy Kids Challenge has been making healthy eating and physical activity CHANGE happen by using a ?start where you are? approach, an ?every day? process for change, and making familiar environments where kids and families live, learn, work, and play FUN and HEALTHY!
AstraZeneca is a major international health care business engaged in the research, development, manufacture, and marketing of prescription pharmaceuticals and the supply of healthcare services. It is one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies with healthcare sales of $23.95 billion and leading positions in sales of gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory, oncology, and infection products. In the United States, AstraZeneca is a $10.77 billion healthcare business with more than 12,000 employees. AstraZeneca is listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (Global) as well as the FTSE4Good Index.