BACKGROUND/AIMS: Duodenal ulcers occur relatively frequently in adolescents, like in adults, and may relate to Helicobacter pylori infection and duodenal gastric metaplasia (DGM). This study investigated the association between H. pylori infection and DGM in healthy adults aged 20-29. METHODS: Between 1995 and 2005, endoscopic biopsies of the duodenum, antrum and body were taken from healthy, young volunteers, who were first-year medical students, faculty staff, residents, and research assistants of Gyeongsang National University in Jinju, Korea. Urease tests were performed and the extent of DGM and histopathological grades according to the Updated Sydney System were determined. RESULTS: In total, 662 subjects were enrolled (429 males and 233 females). The median age was 22.3 years. The overall incidence of DGM was 11.5% but DGM was more frequent in males (15.4%) than in females (4.3%) (p<0.0001). While H. pylori positivity rates changed significantly during the 1995-2005 period (p<0.01), the incidences of DGM did not. DGM was observed in 7.2% and 14.9% of subjects who were and were not colonized with H. pylori, respectively. DGM was also associated with less severe chronic gastritis and the absence of active gastritis in both the antrum and body, and the absence of follicles in the antrum (p<0.05). CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggested that DGM is not rare in healthy young adults and is unrelated to gastric H. pylori infection.