Objective: We aimed to investigate lifestyle factors relevant to the development of Barrett's esophagus in the United Kingdom.
Methods: At Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, Scotland, medical records of 136 Barrett's esophagus patients were examined. At Wexham Park Hospital, Slough, Southern England, 50 male and 51 female Barrett's esophagus patients were matched for sex, age, and year of diagnosis (+/- 3 yr) with uncomplicated reflux esophagitis patients. Data were abstracted for tobacco consumption, alcohol intake, and weight. In Dundee, height was also recorded and body mass index calculated. Alcohol and tobacco intake were scored for each patient.
Results: In Dundee there is no difference in smoking or drinking habits between men and women under and over 50 yr of age. In Slough there is little difference in drinking or smoking habits between Barrett's esophagus and reflux esophagitis patients and between their mean weights. However, of the Dundee Barrett's esophagus patients younger than 50 yr, 31% of men and 71% of women have body mass indexes over 30 (obese), versus 11% and 13%, respectively, for the general population. In those older than 50 yr, 14% of men and 19% of women have body mass indexes over 30.
Conclusions: There is no difference in smoking or drinking habits in younger and older Barrett's esophagus patients, nor between those with Barrett's esophagus and reflux esophagitis. Obesity is a risk factor for Barrett's esophagus in young people only.