More Physical Activity at Any Intensity May Reduce Mortality

Higher levels of total physical activity, less time spent sedentary linked to lower mortality risk

THURSDAY, Aug. 22, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- For middle-aged and older adults, more physical activity at any intensity and less sedentary time are associated with a reduced risk for premature mortality, according to a review published online Aug. 21 in The BMJ.

Ulf Ekelund, Ph.D., from the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences in Oslo, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and harmonized meta-analysis to examine the dose-response associations between all-cause mortality and accelerometer-assessed total physical activity, different intensities of physical activity, and sedentary time. Individual-level data from eight studies with 36,383 participants (mean age, 62.6 years) and 2,149 deaths were analyzed.

The researchers found that regardless of intensity, any physical activity correlated with a lower risk of mortality, with a nonlinear dose response. For mortality, the hazard ratios were 1.00 (referent) in the first quarter (least active) and 0.48, 0.34, and 0.27 in the second, third, and fourth quarters, respectively. The corresponding hazard ratios were 1.00, 0.60, 0.44, and 0.38 for light physical activity and 1.00, 0.64, 0.55, and 0.52 for moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. The hazard ratios for sedentary times were 1.00 for the referent with the least sedentary time and 1.28, 1.71, and 2.63 for the second, third, and fourth quarters, respectively.

"Our findings provide clear scientific evidence that higher levels of total physical activity -- regardless of intensity level -- and lesser amounts of sedentary time are associated with lower risk for premature mortality," the authors write.

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