The relationship between various indicators of physical activity and endometrial cancer risk was analysed using data of a case-control study conducted in 1988-1991 in Switzerland and Italy on 274 histologically confirmed cases and 572 controls admitted to hospital for acute, non neoplastic, non hormone-related diseases. Using a self-rated assessment of total physical activity, there was a systematic tendency for the cases to report more frequently 'low' or 'very low' physical activity. The relative risks were similar for 'very high' or 'moderately high' physical activity, but increased in the two lowest levels, with point estimates, in various decades of age, between 1.3 and 2.3 for 'moderately low' and over 2.5 for 'very low' physical activity. Although the association was apparently stronger at older ages, all the trends in risk were significant. Allowance for major identified potential distorting factors, including body mass index and a measure of total energy intake, could explain only in part the association, and the inverse trends in risk remained statistically significant. When selected types of physical activity were analysed, no association was observed with climbing stairs or walking, but the risk estimates for the lowest level of activity was over 4 for housework, and between 1.5 and 1.9 for sport and leisure and occupational activity. Thus, the present findings suggest that a moderate or high physical activity is an indicator of reduced endometrial cancer risk, although this observation still requires epidemiologic confirmation and clearer definition from a pathogenic point of view.