Background: Epidemiologic data on obesity as a risk factor for colonic adenoma with respect to gender have not yet been confirmed. Here, we aimed to compare the prevalence of colonic adenoma and of advanced polyps in age-stratified men and women at baseline, to examine the role of body mass index (BMI) on colonic adenoma risk according to age and gender, and to examine the influence of menopausal status. Methods: A total of 1744 asymptomatic patients (946 men, 798 women) who underwent colonoscopy for cancer screening at Ewha Mokdong Hospital, Seoul, Korea, between February and June 2005, were eligible. BMI was assessed, and histology, size, and location of the adenoma were examined for each patient. Women were interviewed for menopausal status and a history of hormone replacement therapy. Results: A significant increasein the prevalence of colonic adenoma and of advanced polyps was found to occur with age (P for trend < 0.01). The prevalences of adenoma and advanced polyps were higher in men in most age groups (P < 0.01), but no significant difference in prevalences was observed between genderes in patients 70 years of age or older. Moreover, a positive association between BMI and the prevalence of colonic adenoma and advanced polyps was shown in relatively young individuals of both gender (men in their thirties, P < 0.05; women in their forties, P < 0.05), and premenopausal women according to hormonal status (P = 0.01). Conclusions: Our data suggest that obesity increases the risk of colonic adenoma in relatively young people and in premenopausal women subject to estrogen effects.