Physical Activity and the Risk of Gallbladder Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Cohort Studies

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Physical activity has been hypothesized to reduce the risk of gallbladder disease (gallstones, cholecystitis, cholecystectomy); however, results from epidemiological studies have not always shown statistically significant associations. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to clarify the presence and strength of an association between physical activity and gallbladder disease risk.


PubMed and Embase databases were searched for studies of physical activity and gallbladder disease up to 9th of January 2015. Prospective studies reporting relative risk (RR) estimates and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of gallbladder disease associated with physical activity were included. Summary RRs were estimated using a random effects model.


Eight studies including 6958 cases and 218,204 participants were included. The summary RR for the highest versus the lowest level of physical activity was 0.75 (95% CI: 0.69–0.81, n = 8) and there was no evidence of heterogeneity, I2 = 0%). In the dose-response analysis the summary relative risk per 20 MET-hours of activity was 0.85 (95% CI: 0.80–0.90, I2 = 0%, n = 2) for leisure-time physical activity, 0.83 (95% CI: 0.76–0.90, I2 = 0%, n = 2) for vigorous physical activity, and 0.86 (95% CI: 0.76–0.98, I2 = 0%, n = 2) for nonvigorous physical activity.


Our analysis confirms a protective effect of physical activity on risk of gallbladder disease.

Aune ( is with the Dept of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Imperial College, St. Mary’s Campus, London, UK. Leitzmann is with the Dept of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Regensburg University Medical Center, Regensburg, Germany. Vatten is with the Dept of Public Health and General Practice, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.

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