Background: Whereas chronic atrophic gastritis is known to be an intermediate stage in gastric carcinogenesis, information is sparse about factors associated with this precancerous lesion except for Helicobacter pylori.
Methods: In a cross-sectional study of 566 men aged 50-55 years in the Japan Self-Defense Forces, we examined the relation of H. pylori infection, smoking, alcohol use, and dietary factors to the prevalence of chronic atrophic gastritis as determined by serum pepsinogen I and pepsinogen II (I/II ratio < 3.0. and pepsinogen I < 70 ng/ml). Chronic atrophic gastritis was classified as severe when the pepsinogen I/II ratio was < 2.0, and as moderate otherwise.
Results: The overall prevalence of chronic atrophic gastritis was 35.7% (202 of 566). The seropositivity of H. pylori was associated with a 10-fold increase in the risk of chronic atrophic gastritis, and the association was much stronger for moderate atrophic gastritis. Neither cigarette smoking nor alcohol consumption was related to the overall risk of chronic atrophic gastritis. Consumption of vegetables and fruits was each unrelated to chronic atrophic gastritis whether examined as a whole or separately for moderate and severe atrophic gastritis. Green tea was related to decreased risk of severe atrophic gastritis, although not statistically significant, whereas garlic consumption showed no protective association.
Conclusions: The findings corroborate that H. pylori infection has an important role in the development of chronic atrophic gastritis in middle-aged Japanese men. Green tea consumption may be protective against the advance of atrophic gastritis. Vegetables, fruits, or garlic had no protective effect against the development of atrophic gastritis in the study.