Effects of individual, combined, and isolated physical activity behaviors on all-cause mortality and CVD-specific mortality: Prospective cohort study among U.S. adults

Physiol Behav. 2015 Nov 1;151:355-9. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2015.07.032. Epub 2015 Jul 26.


Objective: To examine the individual, combined, and isolated effects of movement-based behaviors (MBBs) on all-cause mortality and CVD-specific mortality.

Methods: The present prospective study included data from the 1999-2004 National Health & Nutrition Examination Survey, with follow-up data through December 31, 2006 (N=12,321 U.S. adults). Measures included self-report engagement in 4 MBBs (moderate-intensity exercise, vigorous-intensity exercise, muscular strength activities, and active transport), with all-cause mortality and CVD-specific mortality as the outcome measures.

Results: Regarding all-cause mortality, the hazard ratio for those with 1 (vs. 0), 2 (vs. 0), and 3-4 (vs. 0) MBBs, respectively, was 0.61 (95% CI: 0.49-0.76), 0.49 (95% CI: 0.36-0.66), and 0.24 (95% CI: 0.16-0.37). The only MBBs independently associated with all-cause-mortality were vigorous exercise (HR=0.56; 95% CI: 0.41-0.76) and moderate-intensity exercise (HR=0.58; 95% CI: 0.45-0.74). When examining the isolation/exclusivity effects of the MBBs, the only MBB performed in isolation that was statistically significantly associated with all-cause mortality was "Only VPA" (HR=0.45; 95% CI: 0.23-0.86). CVD-specific mortality results were similar to the all-cause mortality results.

Conclusions: There was little evidence of a MBB isolation effect on mortality risk, but individuals engaging in more MBBs had a lower risk of all-cause mortality and CVD-specific mortality. These findings suggest that, in addition to promoting greater engagement in overall physical activity, recommendations for adults to engage in multiple MBBs may be advisable.

Keywords: Active transport; Chronic disease; Epidemiology; Mortality; Physical activity; Resistance training.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / mortality
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / physiopathology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Movement / physiology
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • United States