Heartburn risk factors, knowledge, and prevention strategies: a population-based survey of individuals with heartburn

Arch Intern Med. 1999 Jul 26;159(14):1592-8. doi: 10.1001/archinte.159.14.1592.


Background: Twenty-five million adults experience heartburn daily. To target individuals for prevention programs, characteristics of persons with heartburn and the associated causes of this condition must first be identified.

Methods: We conducted a population-based telephone survey of 2000 individuals with heartburn to describe the cause of the disease, knowledge of risk factors, and prevention strategies.

Results: Lifestyle and work habits, and certain food and beverage consumption, were associated with heartburn. Women reported the onset of heartburn about 5 years later than men. Survey respondents were unaware of the risk factors for heartburn, and sex-dependent differences in knowledge were apparent. Logistic regression modeling identified increasing age, female sex, higher level of education, and frequent vs infrequent heartburn as significant (P<.02) predictors of whether patients told a physician about their heartburn symptoms. Increasing age, higher body mass index, and reduced level of education were significant (P<.02) predictors of frequent vs infrequent heartburn in this study population.

Conclusion: The findings of this study provide a framework for the development of a heartburn prevention program based on lifestyle modification.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Heartburn / drug therapy
  • Heartburn / etiology*
  • Heartburn / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance
  • Risk Factors