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Ann Epidemiol. 2008 Jul;18(7):522-30. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2008.03.008. Epub 2008 May 27.

Daily total physical activity level and premature death in men and women: results from a large-scale population-based cohort study in Japan (JPHC study).

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Epidemiology and Prevention Division, Research Center for Cancer Prevention and Screening, National Cancer Center, Tokyo, Japan.



The impact of daily total physical activity level on premature deaths has not been fully clarified in non-Western, relatively lean populations. We prospectively examined the association between daily total physical activity level (METs/day) and subsequent risk of all-cause mortality and mortalities from cancer, heart disease, and cerebrovascular disease.


A total of 83,034 general Japanese citizens ages 45-74 years who responded to the questionnaire in 1995-1999 were followed for any cause of death through December 2005. Mutlivariate-adjusted hazard ratios were calculated with a Cox proportional hazards model controlling for potential confounding factors.


During follow-up, a total of 4564 deaths were recorded. Compared with subjects in the lowest quartile, increased daily total physical activity was associated with a significantly decreased risk of all-cause mortality in both sexes (hazard ratios for the second, third, and highest quartiles were: men, 0.79, 0.82, 0.73 and women, 0.75, 0.64, 0.61, respectively). The decreased risk was observed regardless of age, frequency of leisure-time sports or physical exercise, or obesity status, albeit with a degree of risk attenuation among those with a high body mass index. A significantly decreased risk was similarly observed for death from cancer and heart disease in both sexes, and from cerebrovascular disease in women.


Greater daily total physical activity level, either from occupation, daily life, or leisure time, may be of benefit in preventing premature death.

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