Daily total physical activity level and premature death in men and women: results from a large-scale population-based cohort study in Japan (JPHC study)

Ann Epidemiol. 2008 Jul;18(7):522-30. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2008.03.008. Epub 2008 May 27.


Purpose: The impact of daily total physical activity level on premature deaths has not been fully clarified in non-Western, relatively lean populations. We prospectively examined the association between daily total physical activity level (METs/day) and subsequent risk of all-cause mortality and mortalities from cancer, heart disease, and cerebrovascular disease.

Methods: A total of 83,034 general Japanese citizens ages 45-74 years who responded to the questionnaire in 1995-1999 were followed for any cause of death through December 2005. Mutlivariate-adjusted hazard ratios were calculated with a Cox proportional hazards model controlling for potential confounding factors.

Results: During follow-up, a total of 4564 deaths were recorded. Compared with subjects in the lowest quartile, increased daily total physical activity was associated with a significantly decreased risk of all-cause mortality in both sexes (hazard ratios for the second, third, and highest quartiles were: men, 0.79, 0.82, 0.73 and women, 0.75, 0.64, 0.61, respectively). The decreased risk was observed regardless of age, frequency of leisure-time sports or physical exercise, or obesity status, albeit with a degree of risk attenuation among those with a high body mass index. A significantly decreased risk was similarly observed for death from cancer and heart disease in both sexes, and from cerebrovascular disease in women.

Conclusion: Greater daily total physical activity level, either from occupation, daily life, or leisure time, may be of benefit in preventing premature death.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cause of Death
  • Cohort Studies
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Life Expectancy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality*
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires