Body Mass Index and Risk of Intestinal Metaplasia: A Cohort Study

We examined the association between body mass index (BMI) and development of endoscopic intestinal metaplasia.

This retrospective cohort study included 142,832 Korean adults free of endoscopic intestinal metaplasia and atrophic gastritis who underwent upper endoscopy at baseline and subsequent visits and were followed for up to 5 years. A parametric proportional hazards model was used to estimate the adjusted HR with 95% confidence interval (CI) for incident intestinal metaplasia.

In more than 444,719.1 person-years of follow-up, 2,281 participants developed endoscopic intestinal metaplasia (incidence rate, 5.1 per 1,000 person-years). Increased BMI categories were associated with increased risk of new-onset intestinal metaplasia in a dose-response manner. After adjustment for age, sex, center, year of screening exam, smoking status, alcohol intake, exercise, total calorie intake, history of diabetes and hypertension, and history of Helicobacter pylori infection, the multivariable adjusted HRs (95% CIs) for incident intestinal metaplasia comparing BMIs of <18.5, 23-24.9, 25.0-29.9, and >30 kg/m2 with a BMI of 18.5-22.9 kg/m2 were 0.84 (0.64-1.09), 1.03 (0.93-1.16), 1.07 (0.96-1.20), and 1.48 (1.20-1.83), respectively. These associations did not differ by clinically relevant subgroups. Risk of endoscopic atrophic gastritis also increased as the baseline BMI category increased.

In a large cohort of Korean men and women, obesity was independently associated with increased incidence of endoscopic atrophic gastritis and intestinal metaplasia.

Excessive adiposity appears to play a role in development of stomach precursor lesions of stomach cancer, requiring further studies to determine whether strategies to reduce obesity will also help reduce precancerous lesions and, in turn, gastric cancer.