Obesity usually is associated with morbidity related to diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular diseases. However, there are many gastrointestinal and hepatic diseases for which obesity is the direct cause (eg, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease) or is a significant risk factor, such as reflux esophagitis and gallstones. When obesity is a risk factor, it may interact with other mechanisms and result in earlier presentation or complicated diseases. There are increased odds ratios or relative risks of several gastrointestinal complications of obesity: gastroesophageal reflux disease, erosive esophagitis, Barrett's esophagus, esophageal adenocarcinoma, erosive gastritis, gastric cancer, diarrhea, colonic diverticular disease, polyps, cancer, liver disease including nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, gallstones, acute pancreatitis, and pancreatic cancer. Gastroenterologists are uniquely poised to participate in the multidisciplinary management of obesity as physicians caring for people with obesity-related diseases, in addition to their expertise in nutrition and endoscopic interventions.
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