Several lifestyle and dietary factors are commonly cited as risk factors for gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) and modification of these factors has been advocated as first-line measures for the management of GORD. We performed a systematic review of the literature from 2005 to the present relating to the effect of these factors and their modification on GORD symptoms, physiological parameters of reflux as well as endoscopic appearances. Conflicting results existed for the association between smoking, alcohol and various dietary factors in the development of GORD. These equivocal findings are partly due to methodology problems. There is recent good evidence that weight reduction and smoking cessation are beneficial in reducing GORD symptoms. Clinical and physiological studies also suggest that some physical measures as well as modification of meal size and timing can also be beneficial. However, there is limited evidence for the role of avoiding alcohol and certain dietary ingredients including carbonated drinks, caffeine, fat, spicy foods, chocolate and mint.