Lifestyle Risk Factors, Quality of Life, and Intervention Preferences of Barrett's Esophagus Patients: A Prospective Cohort Study

Glob Adv Health Med. 2021 Mar 8:10:21649561211001346. doi: 10.1177/21649561211001346. eCollection 2021.


Background and aims: Lifestyle counseling to achieve a healthy weight, quit smoking, and reduce alcohol is a cornerstone in the management of Barrett's Esophagus (BE). However, little is known about whether patients make these recommended lifestyle changes or the impact of non-adherence on their quality of life (QOL). This study characterized the lifestyle risk factors, QOL, and intervention preferences of BE patients as a first step toward developing lifestyle change interventions for this population.

Methods: Patients with a confirmed BE diagnosis (N = 106) completed surveys at a surveillance endoscopy visit (baseline) and at 3- and 6-month follow-ups. Patients reported on lifestyle risk factors, adherence determinants (e.g., perceived benefits/barriers, risk, intentions), QOL, and intervention preferences.

Results: Most patients (56%) had uncontrolled reflux, were overweight/obese (65.1%), and had low dietary fiber intake (91%). Many (45%) reported poor QOL. Patients' perceived risk of developing esophageal cancer was high, but their behavior change intentions were low. Despite receiving lifestyle counseling from physicians, there were no significant changes in patients' QOL or lifestyle risk factors over time. Nonetheless, patients indicated strong interest in internet (62.6%) and multimedia programs (57.9%) addressing acid reflux and weight control.

Conclusion: BE patients reported uncontrolled reflux, poor QOL, and multiple lifestyle risk factors that did not change over time. Despite low levels of intention for making lifestyle changes, patients were interested receiving more information about controlling acid reflux, suggesting a potential teachable moment and opportunity for web-based and multimedia multiple behavior interventions that seek to control acid reflux symptoms through weight loss and a high fiber diet.

Keywords: Barrett’s esophagus; dietary behavior; gastroesophageal reflux disease; physical activity; quality of life.