Lifestyle factors and symptoms of gastro-oesophageal reflux -- a population-based study

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2006 Jan 1;23(1):169-74. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2006.02727.x.


Background: Although the symptoms of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease are common in the general adult population, the aetiology of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease is still largely unknown. Lifestyle factors such as diet, body mass index, and smoking have been frequently suggested as possible risk factors.

Aim: In the present study, we investigated the relationship between various lifestyle factors and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease symptoms.

Methods: A total of 7124 subjects were interviewed as part of the German National Health Interview and Examination Survey, a representative sample of the general adult population. We examined a variety of possible risk factors, including age, gender, body mass index, smoking, alcohol consumption, sports and different foods. To investigate the association between lifestyle and symptoms, we used a multiple logistic regression model, including various gastro-oesophageal reflux disease patient characteristics.

Results: We found an association among those with reflux symptoms who were overweight and obese (odds ratio: 1.8, 95% confidence interval: 1.5-2.2; odds ratio: 2.6, 95% confidence interval: 2.2-3.2), respectively. Further risk factors included smoking and the frequent consumption of spirits, sweets, or white bread. Physical activity and the consumption of fruits seemed to have some protective effect.

Conclusions: Lifestyle factors -- in particular overweight, obesity and smoking -- were associated with increased reflux symptoms.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Diet / adverse effects
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects