Background and Aims: The prevalence of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection is higher in developing countries and is often linked to lower socioeconomic status. Few studies have investigated the association between H. pylori and individual level characteristics in Europe, where several countries have a high prevalence of H. pylori infection. The study aimed to identify risk factors for H. pylori infection among adults in a large clinical trial in Latvia.

Methods: 1,855 participants (40-64 years) of the “Multicenter randomized study of H. pylori eradication and pepsinogen testing for prevention of gastric cancer mortality” (GISTAR study) in Latvia tested for H. pylori IgG antibodies were included in a cross-sectional analysis. Sociodemographic, lifestyle and medical factors were compared for participants seropositive (H. pylori+) and seronegative. Mutually adjusted odds ratios (OR) were calculated for H. pylori+ and factors significant in univariate analysis (education, smoking, binge drinking, several dietary habits, history of H. pylori eradication and disease), adjusting for age, gender and income.

Results: Of the participants 1,044 (55.4%) were H. pylori seropositive. The infection was associated with current (OR: 1.34, 95%CI: 1.01-1.78) and former (OR: 1.38; 95%CI: 1.03-1.85) smoking, binge drinking (OR: 1.35; 95%CI: 1.03-1.78), having ≥200g dairy daily (OR: 1.37; 95%CI: 1.11-1.69), and very hot food/drinks (OR: 1.32; 95%CI: 1.03-1.69) and inversely with ≥400g vegetables/fruit daily (OR: 0.76; 95%CI: 0.60-0.96), history of H. pylori eradication (OR: 0.57; 95%CI: 0.39-0.84), peptic ulcer (OR: 0.55; 95%CI: 0.38-0.80) and cardiovascular disease (OR: 0.78; 95%CI: 0.61-0.99).

Conclusions: After mutual adjustment, H. pylori seropositivity was associated with lifestyle and in particular dietary factors rather than socioeconomic indicators in contrast to the majority of other studies.


Helicobacter pylori, risk factors, socioeconomic factors, life style, diet, Latvia