Women who exercise cut their risk of gallbladder surgery by nearly a third, with very active women most likely to avoid the most common digestive tract procedure in the United States, researchers report.
Doctors have known for years that obesity increases the risk that tiny, painful stones will form in the gallbladder, which stores the digestive juice bile after it is made by the liver.
Researchers led by Dr. Michael Leitzmann of Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital report in today's New England Journal of Medicine that a sedentary lifestyle contributed to the problem. Their study showed that women who exercised cut their risk of gallbladder surgery by 31 percent.
They found that for every 100 inactive women who needed to have their gallbladders removed, only 69 of the women classified as most active needed the surgery.