Data of Helicobacter pylori prevalence in children and its risk factors provide clues to the health authority to estimate burden of H. pylori-associated diseases usually encountered in adulthood and facilitate healthcare planning.Materials and Methods
A cross-sectional population-based study was conducted in Chinese children in elementary and high schools. Schools were selected from all three major areas of Hong Kong. H. pylori infection was defined by a positive 13C-urea breath test. Study subjects were stratified into six age groups for estimation of prevalence. Potential risk factors were analyzed from data of self-administered questionnaires.Results
A total of 2480 children (aged 6–19, male: 47.3%) participated in the study. Overall, 324 (13.1%) were positive for H. pylori. There was no difference in prevalence between sexes, and no statistical trend in the prevalence across the six age groups. Multivariate logistic regression identified lack of formal education of mother (OR = 2.43, 95%CI 1.36–4.34), family history of gastric cancer (OR = 2.19, 95%CI 1.09–4.41), and household member > 5 (OR = 1.57, 95%CI 1.12–2.19) to be positively associated with H. pylori infection in our children.Conclusions
The H. pylori prevalence of Hong Kong children is comparable to the data of developed countries. The association with family history of gastric cancer justifies further study to investigate the cost-benefit of community screening program for such children to decrease the incidence of gastric cancer in adulthood.