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Lack of differential pattern in central adiposity and metabolic syndrome in Barrett's esophagus and gastroesophageal reflux disease.Obesity is an established risk factor for esophageal adenocarcinoma, although the mechanism is unclear. A pathway from reflux to inflammation through metaplasia is the dominant hypothesis, and an added role relating to visceral adiposity and the metabolic syndrome has been mooted in Barrett's esophagus (BE) patients. Whether BE differs from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in obesity and metabolic syndrome profiles is unclear, and this was the focus of this study. Patients with proven BE or GERD were randomly selected from the unit data registry and invited to attend for metabolic syndrome screening, anthropometry studies including segmental body composition analysis, and laboratory tests including fasting lipids, insulin, and C-reactive protein. Metabolic syndrome was defined using the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) and the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) criteria. One hundred and eighteen BE patients and 113 age- and sex-matched GERD controls were studied. The incidence of obesity (body mass index >30 kg/m(2)) was 36% and 38%, respectively, with the pattern of fat deposition predominantly central and an estimated trunk fat mass of 13 and 14 kg, respectively. Using the NCEP criteria, metabolic syndrome was significantly more common in the BE cohort (30% vs 20%, P < 0.05), but there was no significant difference using IDF criteria (42% vs 37%, P= 0.340). Central obesity and the metabolic syndrome are common in both Barrett's and GERD cohorts, but not significantly different, suggesting that central obesity and the metabolic syndrome does not per se impact on the development of BE in a reflux population. In BE, the importance of obesity and the metabolic syndrome in disease progression merits further study.