Our aim was to assess the association of a Mediterranean diet and gastroesophageal reflux disease among adult men and women in Albania, a former communist country in South Eastern Europe with a predominantly Muslim population. A cross-sectional study was conducted in 2012, which included a population-based sample of 817 individuals (≥18 years) residing in Tirana, the Albanian capital (333 men; overall mean age: 50.2 ± 18.7 years; overall response rate: 82%). Assessment of gastroesophageal reflux disease was based on Montreal definition. Participants were interviewed about their dietary patterns, which in the analysis was dichotomized into: predominantly Mediterranean (frequent consumption of composite/traditional dishes, fresh fruit and vegetables, olive oil, and fish) versus largely non-Mediterranean (frequent consumption of red meat, fried food, sweets, and junk/fast food). Logistic regression was used to assess the association of gastroesophageal reflux disease with the dietary patterns. Irrespective of demographic and socioeconomic characteristics and lifestyle factors including eating habits (meal regularity, eating rate, and meal-to-sleep interval), employment of a non-Mediterranean diet was positively related to gastroesophageal reflux disease risk (fully adjusted odds ratio = 2.3, 95% confidence interval = 1.2-4.5). Our findings point to a beneficial effect of a Mediterranean diet in the occurrence of gastroesophageal reflux disease in transitional Albania. Findings from this study should be confirmed and expanded further in prospective studies in Albania and in other Mediterranean countries.
Keywords: Albania; Mediterranean diet; South Eastern Europe; gastroesophageal reflux disease; non-Mediterranean diet.
© 2015 International Society for Diseases of the Esophagus.