Physical activity can reduce the prevalence of gallstone disease among males: An observational study.

Medicine. 2020;99(26):e20763

Plain language summary

Gallstone disease (GD) is one of the most common digestive disorders and can cause acute abdominal pain, jaundice, and abnormal liver function due to stones deposited in the gallbladder or bile ducts. Metabolic syndrome is a known risk factor for GD and physical activity (PA) can reduce the incidence of metabolic syndrome. The aim of this observational study was to evaluate whether PA can reduce the risk of GD in a Korean population. 8908 subjects were included in this study, GD was diagnosed by ultrasound and PA was defined as moderate-intensity aerobic PA for at least 150 minutes, or vigorous-intensity activity for at least 75 minutes throughout the week. Participants underwent physical investigation and had blood samples taken to establish metabolic syndrome markers. In men, PA, old age and higher AST (aspartate aminotransferase, a liver enzyme) were independent risk factors for GD, whilst in women only a history of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, but not PA, was independently associated with GD.


Several previous studies have reported that physical activity (PA) levels can independently affect the prevalence of gallstone disease (GD) in Western countries. However, this association has not been reported in Eastern countries. Therefore, this study aimed to determine whether PA is an independent determinant of GD prevalence in a Korean population, according to the World Health Organizations Global Recommendations on PA for Health.A total of 8908 subjects who completed a questionnaire underwent medical examination and ultrasound scanning at the Health Promotion Center of the Jeju National University Hospital between January 2009 and December 2018. GD and fatty liver disease were diagnosed by abdominal ultrasound. Biochemical parameters and body mass index were determined, and metabolic syndrome status, age, and PA levels were extracted from medical records. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to identify independent factors affecting GD.The estimated rates of PA and GD among male subjects were 23.7% and 4.6%, whereas the rates among females were 18.4% and 4.2%, respectively. Multivariate analysis suggested that no PA, old age, and higher aspartate aminotransferase level in males and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease status in females were independent factors affecting GD.In our study, PA was associated with a reduction in GD among males but not females.

Lifestyle medicine

Fundamental Clinical Imbalances : Hormonal ; Digestive, absorptive and microbiological
Patient Centred Factors : Mediators/Gallbladder/physical activity
Environmental Inputs : Physical exercise
Personal Lifestyle Factors : Exercise and movement
Functional Laboratory Testing : Blood ; Imaging

Methodological quality

Jadad score : Not applicable
Allocation concealment : Not applicable
Publication Type : Journal Article ; Observational Study