Objective: To determine whether self-reported physical activity predicts a decreased rate of coronary heart disease (CHD) and all-cause mortalities in middle-aged men when rates are adjusted for known confounders.
Design: Cohort Analytic Study of Israeli government employees in 1963.
Subjects: Eight thousand four hundred sixty-three Israeli male government employees, aged 40 years or older, representing six areas of birth, excluding those with known cardiovascular disease in either 1963 or 1965, from an original cohort of 10,059.
Main outcome measure: Comparison of rates of death due to CHD and all causes, determined from death certificates in 21 years of follow-up, for subjects with different baseline levels of self-reported leisure-time and work-related physical activities measured in 1965.
Results: Self-reported leisure-time but not work-related physical activity was inversely related to both CHD (adjusted relative risk, 0.79; 95% confidence interval, 0.66 to 0.95) and all-cause mortalities (adjusted relative risk, 0.91; 95% confidence interval, 0.83 to 0.99). Most of the apparent benefit accrued was from light physical activity on less than a daily basis. These inverse relationships persisted after adjustment for age, systolic blood pressure, cigarette smoking, total and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, body mass index, psychosocial factors, and other potential confounders.
Conclusion: Baseline levels of self-reported leisure-time physical activity predicted a decreased rate of CHD and all-cause mortalities in employed middle-aged Israeli men followed up prospectively for 21 years.