BACKGROUND: Fast eating or overeating can induce gastrointestinal diseases such as gastritis. However, the association between gastritis and speed of eating is unclear. The aim of this study was to determine whether eating speed is associated with increased risk of endoscopic erosive gastritis (EEG). METHODS: We carried out a cross-sectional study involving 10,893 adults who underwent a general health checkup between 2007 and 2009. Two groups, EEG patients and EEG-free patients, were compared by using the t-test and the chi-square test. Multiple logistic regression analyses were performed to investigate the association between eating speed and EEG. RESULTS: The group with EEG had a higher proportion of males, average age, body mass index, and percentages of current smokers and risky drinkers than those without EEG. After adjusting for anthropometric, social, and endoscopic parameters, the group with the highest eating speed (<5 min/meal) had 1.7 times higher risk for EEG than the group with the lowest eating speed (> or =15 min/meal) (odds ratio, 1.71; 95% confidence interval, 1.20-2.45). CONCLUSION: High eating speed is an independent risk factor for EEG. Our results indicate the need for further studies to clarify the role of eating speed in gastritis.