Associations of vigorous physical activity with all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality among 64 913 adults

Publication Type:
Journal Article
BMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine, 2019, 5 (1)
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© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2019. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ. Background Physical activity recommendations state that for the same energy expenditure, moderate-to-vigorous physical activities (MVPAs) produce similar health benefits. However, few epidemiological studies have tested this hypothesis. Design We examined whether, compared with moderate, vigorous activity was associated with larger mortality risk reductions. Methods Data from 11 cohorts of the Health Survey for England and the Scottish Health Survey, collected from 1994 to 2011 (mean (SD) follow-up, 9.0 (3.6) years). Adults aged ≥30 years reported MVPA and linkage to mortality records. Exposure was the proportion of self-reported weighted MVPA through vigorous activity. Outcomes were all-cause, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer mortality. Results Among 64 913 adult respondents (44% men, 56% women, mean (SD) age, 49.8 (13.6) years), there were 5064 deaths from all-causes, 1393 from CVD and 1602 from cancer during 435 743 person-years of follow-up. Compared with those who reported no vigorous physical activity, and holding constant the volume of weighted MVPA, vigorous activity was associated with additional reductions in mortality risk. For all-cause mortality, the adjusted HR was HR=0.84 (95% CI 0.71, 0.99) and HR=0.84 (95% CI 0.76, 0.94) among those who reported between >0% and<30%, or ≥30% of their activity as vigorous, respectively. For CVD and cancer mortality, point estimates showed similar beneficial associations yet CIs were wider and crossed unity. Conclusion Vigorous activities were associated with larger reductions in mortality risk than activities of moderate intensity, but no evidence of dose-response effects was found.
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