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Ann Epidemiol. 2002 Nov;12(8):543-52.

The relationship of physical activity and body weight with all-cause mortality: results from the Puerto Rico Heart Health Program.

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  • 1Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, State University of New York, Buffalo, NY 14214, USA.



To study the relationship of physical activity and obesity with all-cause mortality in Puerto Rican Men.


The Puerto Rico Heart Health Program collected physical activity and anthropometric measurements in 9,824 men between 1962 and 1965. After excluding those with known coronary heart disease at baseline, and those who died within the first three years of the study we analyzed the data for the relationship between physical activity and overweight status to all-cause mortality in 9,136 men. We stratified our participants by quartiles of physical activity. Participants were classified into four categories of body weight: underweight (BMI < 18.5), healthy weight (BMI =18.5-24.9), overweight (BMI = 25-29.9), and obese (BMI = 30+).


After adjusting for age, education, smoking status, hypertension status, hypercholesterolemic status, urban/rural residence, and overweight status, physical activity was independently related to all-cause mortality. All-cause mortality was lower in those in quartile 2 (OR = 0.68, CI = 0.58-0.79) than quartile 1 (reference, sedentary group). Mortality among those in quartile 3 and 4 (0.63, CI = 0.54-0.75; and 0.55, CI = 0.46-0.65, respectively) were also significantly lower than those observed in quartile 1, but not significantly lower than those observed in quartile 2. Furthermore, within every category of body weight, those who were most active had significantly lower odds ratio of all-cause mortality.


Our findings support the current recommendation that some physical activity is better than none, in protecting against all-cause mortality. The benefits of an active lifestyle are independent of body weight and that overweight and obese Puerto Rican men who are physically active experienced significant reductions in all-cause mortality compared with their sedentary counterparts.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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