Physical activity level and risk of death: the severance cohort study

J Epidemiol. 2012;22(6):494-500. doi: 10.2188/jea.je20110110. Epub 2012 Jul 28.


Background: Physical activity decreases deaths from cardiovascular disease and other causes; however, it is unclear whether physical activity is associated with cancer incidence and death in Asian populations.

Methods: Data from 59 636 Koreans aged 30 to 93 years were collected using a questionnaire and medical examination at the Severance Hospital Health Promotion Center between 1994 and 2004. Study participants were followed for a mean duration of 10.3 years.

Results: In the exercising group, the multivariate Cox proportional hazards model showed a lower risk of cancer death (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.72, 95% CI = 0.62-0.85) in men but not in women. Those who exercised, as compared with those who did not, had lower risks of all-cause death (men: HR = 0.68, 95% CI = 0.60-0.76; women: HR = 0.65, 95% CI = 0.53-0.79) and noncancer death (men: 0.63, 0.53-0.75; women: 0.52, 0.39-0.69). Physical activity was inversely associated with risk of noncancer death among men and women.

Conclusions: Physical activity was associated with lower risks of cancer death and noncancer death.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cause of Death
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity*
  • Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Republic of Korea / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult