Physical Activity and Gastric Cancer Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Clin J Sport Med. 2016 Nov;26(6):445-464. doi: 10.1097/JSM.0000000000000316.


Objective: Physical activity represents a well-established way to prolong the life span; yet, it remains an unfulfilled goal for a great part of the population. In parallel, the burden of gastric cancer is considerable throughout the globe. In that context, the present meta-analysis aims to shed light on the association between physical activity and gastric cancer risk.

Data sources: Eligible observational studies were sought in PubMed up to June 01, 2015. In addition, a snowball procedure was conducted and contact with authors was implemented. Separate analyses were performed by type of physical activity (total; occupational; recreational), study design, published/provided data, anatomical site, and study location, along with stratification by gender.

Main results: Ten cohort studies (7551 incident cases in a total cohort size of 1 541 208 subjects) and 12 case-control studies (5803 cases and 73 629 controls) were eligible. "Any" type of physical activity was associated with lower risk of gastric cancer [pooled relative risk (RR) = 0.81; 95% CI: 0.73 to 0.89], which was reproducible in men (pooled RR = 0.87; 95% CI: 0.77-0.99). The protective effect was significant in the subgroup analyses of published data, noncardia cancer (pooled RR = 0.62; 95% CI: 0.52-0.75), and studies stemming from Asia (pooled RR = 0.82; 95% CI: 0.74-0.90).

Conclusions: This meta-analysis suggests a protective effect of physical activity regarding gastric cancer risk, especially in Asian populations.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Asian People
  • Exercise*
  • Humans
  • Stomach Neoplasms / prevention & control*