Volume of Light Versus Moderate-to-Vigorous Physical Activity: Similar Benefits for All-Cause Mortality?

Published online

Journal Article

BACKGROUND: It is unclear whether the greater benefits of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (PA) over light PA are attributed to the higher-intensity PA or simply the greater volume of PA accumulated per unit time for moderate-to-vigorous PA. We examined this question using estimates of the volume of light and moderate-to-vigorous PA in relation to all-cause mortality. METHODS AND RESULTS: We used National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003-2006 accelerometer records in adults (≥40 years; n=4840) and mortality data collected through 2011 (n=700 deaths). We estimated intensity-specific PA volume using activity counts (AC) accumulated in light (100-759 AC/min), moderate-to-vigorous PA (≥760 AC/min), and total PA (≥100 AC/min). We examined quartiles of each exposure using Cox proportional hazard models (hazard ratios [95% confidence interval) adjusted for demographic and behavioral risk factors, health status, and body mass index. Mortality risk was less across increasing quartiles of light PA volume (AC×1000) when compared with the least quartile (AC ≤61.8); the least risk occurred in the upper quartile of light PA, AC >98.5 (hazard ratios=0.69, 95% confidence interval: 0.47, 1.00, P trend ≤0.05). The benefits for mortality risk were greater across quartiles of moderate-to-vigorous PA and reached a hazard ratio of 0.28 (95% confidence interval: 0.17, 0.46, P trend ≤0.05) for AC >187.9, when compared with the referent group (AC ≤50.8). Results examining various combinations of light and moderate-to-vigorous intensity-specific volumes demonstrated the strong influence of total activity on mortality risk. CONCLUSIONS: In this population, increasing light PA was associated with less mortality, but at an approximately equal volume of PA, moderate-to-vigorous PA appeared to have greater benefits.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Saint-Maurice, PF; Troiano, RP; Berrigan, D; Kraus, WE; Matthews, CE

Published Date

  • April 2, 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 7 / 7

PubMed ID

  • 29610219

Pubmed Central ID

  • 29610219

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2047-9980

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1161/JAHA.118.008815


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England