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Am J Epidemiol. 2018 May 1;187(5):1102-1112. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwx345.

Does Strength-Promoting Exercise Confer Unique Health Benefits? A Pooled Analysis of Data on 11 Population Cohorts With All-Cause, Cancer, and Cardiovascular Mortality Endpoints.

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Epidemiology Unit, Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Prevention Research Collaboration, Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Division of Preventive Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.
Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.
Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living, Victoria University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Research Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care and Faculty of Population Health Sciences, University College London, London, United Kingdom.
National Center for Sport and Exercise Medicine-East Midlands, Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom.
Exercise Health and Performance Faculty Research Group, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.


Public health guidance includes recommendations to engage in strength-promoting exercise (SPE), but there is little evidence on its links with mortality. Using data from the Health Survey for England and the Scottish Health Survey from 1994-2008, we examined the associations between SPE (gym-based and own-body-weight strength activities) and all-cause, cancer, and cardiovascular disease mortality. Multivariable-adjusted Cox regression was used to examine the associations between SPE (any, low-/high-volume, and adherence to the SPE guideline (≥2 sessions/week)) and mortality. The core sample comprised 80,306 adults aged ≥30 years, corresponding to 5,763 any-cause deaths (736,463 person-years). Following exclusions for prevalent disease/events occurring in the first 24 months, participation in any SPE was favorably associated with all-cause (hazard ratio (HR) = 0.77, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.69, 0.87) and cancer (HR = 0.69, 95% CI: 0.56, 0.86) mortality. Adhering only to the SPE guideline was associated with all-cause (HR = 0.79, 95% CI: 0.66, 0.94) and cancer (HR = 0.66, 95% CI: 0.48, 0.92) mortality; adhering only to the aerobic activity guideline (equivalent to 150 minutes/week of moderate-intensity activity) was associated with all-cause (HR = 0.84, 95% CI: 0.78, 0.90) and cardiovascular disease (HR = 0.78, 95% CI: 0.68, 0.90) mortality. Adherence to both guidelines was associated with all-cause (HR = 0.71, 95% CI: 0.57, 0.87) and cancer (HR = 0.70, 95% CI: 0.50, 0.98) mortality. Our results support promoting adherence to the strength exercise guidelines over and above the generic physical activity targets.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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