Our objective was to perform a systematic review of risk factors and prevention of gout. We searched Medline for fully published reports in English using keywords including but not limited to 'gout', 'epidemiology', 'primary prevention', 'secondary prevention', 'risk factors'. Data from relevant articles meeting inclusion criteria were extracted using standardized forms. Of the 751 titles and abstracts, 53 studies met the criteria and were included in the review. Several risk factors were studied. Alcohol consumption increased the risk of incident gout, especially beer and hard liquor. Several dietary factors increased the risk of incident gout, including meat intake, seafood intake, sugar sweetened soft drinks, and consumption of foods high in fructose. Diary intake, folate intake, and coffee consumption were each associated with a lower risk of incident gout and in some cases a lower rate of gout flares. Thiazide and loop diuretics were associated with higher risk of incident gout and higher rate of gout flares. Hypertension, renal insufficiency, hypertriglyceridemia, hypercholesterolemia, hyperuricemia, diabetes, obesity, and early menopause were each associated with a higher risk of incident gout and/or gout flares. Several dietary risk factors for incident gout and gout flares are modifiable. Prevention and optimal management of comorbidities are likely to decreased risk of gout. Research in preventive strategies for the treatment of gout is needed.