Domains of physical activity and all-cause mortality: systematic review and dose–response meta-analysis of cohort studies
Background The dose–response relation between physical activity and all-cause mortality is not well defined at present. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to determine the association with all-cause mortality of different domains of physical activity and of defined increases in physical activity and energy expenditure.Methods MEDLINE, Embase and the Cochrane Library were searched up to September 2010 for cohort studies examining all-cause mortality across different domains and levels of physical activity in adult general populations. We estimated combined risk ratios (RRs) associated with defined increments and recommended levels, using random-effects meta-analysis and dose–response meta-regression models.Results Data from 80 studies with 1 338 143 participants (118 121 deaths) were included. Combined RRs comparing highest with lowest activity levels were 0.65 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.60–0.71] for total activity, 0.74 (95% CI 0.70–0.77) for leisure activity, 0.64 (95% CI 0.55–0.75) for activities of daily living and 0.83 (95% CI 0.71–0.97) for occupational activity. RRs per 1-h increment per week were 0.91 (95% CI 0.87–0.94) for vigorous exercise and 0.96 (95% CI 0.93–0.98) for moderate-intensity activities of daily living. RRs corresponding to 150 and 300 min/week of moderate to vigorous activity were 0.86 (95% CI 0.80–0.92) and 0.74 (95% CI 0.65–0.85), respectively. Mortality reductions were more pronounced in women.Conclusion Higher levels of total and domain-specific physical activity were associated with reduced all-cause mortality. Risk reduction per unit of time increase was largest for vigorous exercise. Moderate-intensity activities of daily living were to a lesser extent beneficial in reducing mortality.