Goodbye Gallstones

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Being fat, female, and over 40 are some of the classic risk factors for gallstones. Spending more than 40 hours a week on your fanny may be another, say researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Michael Leitzmann and co-workers followed more than 60,000 women who had participated in the Nurses' Health Study since 1986. Between 1986 and 1996, 3,257 of the women had surgery to remove a gallstone.

Those who engaged in just about any exercise for two to three hours a week had about a 20 percent lower risk of gallstone surgery than sedentary women. In contrast, women who spent more than 60 hours a week sitting while at work or in their cars had more than twice the risk of women who spent no more than 40 hours a week on their behinds.

"The risk is slightly elevated from 40 to 60 hours a week of sitting," says Leitzmann, "and really starts to skyrocket at over 60 hours."

New Eng. J. Med. 341: 777, 836, 1999.

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By Bonnie Liebman

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