TUESDAY, Jan. 5, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Adherence to five lifestyle factors is associated with a decreased risk for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms, according to a research letter published online Jan. 4 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Raaj S. Mehta, M.D., from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues used data from the Nurses’ Health Study II to evaluate associations between dietary and lifestyle factors with the risk for GERD symptoms. An antireflux lifestyle score (range, 0 to 5) was calculated based on five variables: normal weight; never smoking; moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for at least 30 minutes daily; no more than two cups of coffee, tea, or soda daily; and a prudent diet (top 40 percent of the dietary pattern score).

Among 42,955 women aged 42 to 62 years, the researchers identified 9,291 incident cases of GERD symptoms. For women with the five antireflux lifestyle factors, the risk for GERD symptoms was reduced (hazard ratio, 0.50). The investigators estimated that 37 percent of cases of GERD symptoms may be prevented by adopting all five lifestyle factors. There were independent associations seen between each of the five lifestyle factors and GERD symptoms. The mutually adjusted multivariable hazard ratios for nonadherence to each lifestyle factor ranged from 0.94 for smoking to 0.69 for body mass index.

“These data support the importance of lifestyle modification in management of GERD symptoms,” the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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