Effect of physical inactivity on major noncommunicable diseases and life expectancy in Brazil

J Phys Act Health. 2015 Mar;12(3):299-306. doi: 10.1123/jpah.2013-0241. Epub 2014 Apr 17.


Background: In Brazil, one-fifth of the population reports not doing any physical activity. This study aimed to assess the impact of physical inactivity on major noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), all-cause mortality and life expectancy in Brazil, by region and sociodemographic profile.

Methods: We estimated the population attributable fraction (PAF) for physical inactivity associated with coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, colon cancer, and all-cause mortality. To calculate the PAF, we used the physical inactivity prevalence from the 2008 Brazilian Household Survey and relative risk data in the literature.

Results: In Brazil, physical inactivity is attributable to 3% to 5% of all major NCDs and 5.31% of all-cause mortality, ranging from 5.82% in the southeastern region to 2.83% in the southern region. Eliminating physical inactivity would increase the life expectancy by an average of 0.31 years. This reduction would affect mainly individuals with ≥ 15 years of schooling, male, Asian, elderly, residing in an urban area and earning ≥ 2 times the national minimum wage.

Conclusions: In Brazil, physical inactivity has a major impact on NCDs and mortality, principally in the southeastern and central-west regions. Public policies and interventions promoting physical activity will significantly improve the health of the population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Coronary Disease / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Expectancy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Morbidity*
  • Population Surveillance
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sedentary Behavior*