Low physical activity as a predictor for total and cardiovascular disease mortality in middle-aged men and women in Finland

Eur Heart J. 2004 Dec;25(24):2204-11. doi: 10.1016/j.ehj.2004.10.009.


Aims: To investigate separately for men and women whether moderate or high leisure time physical activity, occupational physical activity, and commuting activity are associated with a reduced cardiovascular disease (CVD) and all-cause mortality, independent of CVD risk factors and other forms of physical activity.

Methods and results: Prospective follow-up of 15,853 men and 16,824 women aged 30-59 years living in eastern and south-western Finland (median follow-up time 20 years). CVD and all-cause mortality were lower (9-21%) in men and women (2-17%) who were moderately or highly physically active during leisure time. Moderate and high levels of occupational physical activity decreased CVD and all-cause mortality by 21-27% in both sexes. Women spending daily 15 min or more in walking or cycling to and from work had a reduced CVD and all-cause mortality before adjustment for occupational and leisure time physical activity. Commuting activity was not associated with CVD or all-cause mortality in men.

Conclusion: Moderate and high levels of leisure time and occupational physical activity are associated with a reduced CVD and all-cause mortality among both sexes. Promoting already moderate levels of leisure time and occupational physical activity are essential to prevent premature CVD and all-cause mortality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Educational Status
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Smoking / adverse effects


  • Cholesterol