The purpose of the study was to assess risk factors for intestinal metaplasia arising from H. pylori-related chronic gastritis in a subset of the population referred to endoscopic examinations due to dyspeptic complaints. We aimed specifically to establish whether H. pylori itself may be responsible for the occurrence of intestinal metaplasia and to which extent the metaplasia may be associated with life style factors such as cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption or dietary habits. The study was carried out in a sample of 1290 outpatients referred for the first time to gastroenterologic outpatient clinics in 6 university centers in Poland. The study methods covered standardized health interviews, endoscopy and histology of gastric antral specimens taken at endoscopy. The interviews performed by trained interviewers sought information on tobacco and alcohol intake, diet, socioeconomic status, and other variables. In non-ulcer dyspepsia subjects there was 54.9% H. pylori related gastritis and 25.1% of non-H. pylori-related gastritis. The corresponding rates in the group of ulcer dyspepsia were 67.5% and 20.5%. The increased risk of chronic gastritis in antrum was associated with Helicobacter pylori infection (OR = 2.28; 95% CI:1.93-2.69), and with gastric peptic ulcer (OR = 1.88; 95% CI:1.20-2.94). In the non-ulcer dyspepsia the prevalence of metaplasia was 11.1% and in ulcer dyspepsia 19.7%. The risk of intestinal metaplasia within antrum depended greatly upon the presence of gastric peptic ulcer (OR = 3.85; 95% CI:2.35-6.32) and increased with age (OR = 1.05; 95% CI:1.04-1.07), smoking cigarettes currently or in the past (OR = 1.42; 95% CI:1.10-1.84), higher frequency of drinking vodka (OR = 1.32, 95% CI:1.01-1.75) and antral chronic gastritis (OR = 1.31; 95% CI:1.00-1.70), however, it was inversely related to daily consumption of fresh fruits or vegetables (OR = 0.59; 95% CI:0.38-0.93). The results of the study suggest that there is no sufficient evidence supporting the hypothesis about an association between H. pylori gastritis and intestinal metaplasia, however, the transition of gastritis to metaplasia depends greatly on life style factors such as cigarette smoking or vodka drinking and is impeded by daily consumption of fresh fruits or vegetables.