When my father, a retired pediatrician, was in medical school, he was taught that celiac disease was a childhood disease with 3 symptoms: failure to thrive (being underweight), a distended belly and diarrhea. Fortunately awareness is growing that celiac disease or gluten intolerance can become active at any age, can present with a multitude of symptoms, and that a person does not have to be severely underweight to qualify for testing. Still, if an overweight adult walked into the doctor’s office, it is doubtful that celiac testing would be most doctors’ first (or any) thought.
In a 2006 study done in the U.K., it was concluded that 39% of celiac patients at the time of diagnosis were overweight (some obese) and only 5% were underweight. Dr. Peter Green says, in his book Celiac Disease, A Hidden Epidemic, that celiac disease needs to be considered by doctors regardless of a person’s weight.
I have seen a “puffiness” in some people that get diagnosed with celiac disease or discover that they have a gluten intolerance. It is a bloating that can occur all over the body, or sometimes around the face or middle. And I have seen people lose that puffiness on a gluten-free diet. I believe that anyone who is feeling unwell but can’t explain why should be tested for celiac disease.
For more about celiac and being overweight, read this article called Celiac and Obesity — There is a Connection from celiac.com.