Background: Although the benefits of regular physical activity on morbidity and mortality are established, relationships between recommended levels of physical activity and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) have not been described. The authors examined whether recommended levels of physical activity were associated with better HRQOL and perceived health status.
Methods: Using data from 175,850 adults who participated in the 2001 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey, the authors examined the independent relationship between recommended levels of moderate or vigorous physical activity and four measures of HRQOL developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Multivariate logistic regression was used to obtain odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) adjusted for age, race/ethnicity, sex, education, smoking status, and body mass index.
Results: The proportion of adults reporting 14 or more unhealthy days (physical or mental) was significantly lower among those who attained recommended levels of physical activity than physically inactive adults for all age, racial/ethnic, and sex groups. After multivariate adjustment, the relative odds of 14 or more unhealthy days (physical or mental) in those with the recommended level of activity compared to physically inactive adults was 0.67 (95% CI: 0.60, 0.74) for adults aged 18-44 years, 0.40 (95% CI: 0.36, 0.45) for adults aged 45-64 years, and 0.41 (95% CI: 0.36, 0.46) for adults aged 65 years or older. The results persist even among adults with a chronic condition such as arthritis.
Conclusions: These results highlight the need for health programs to increase participation in regular physical activity.