Increasing Physical Activity Could Prevent 110,000 Deaths Per Year

As many as 110,000 deaths per year could be prevented if adults aged 40 years old or older increased their moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) by even just 10 minutes per day, according to a study by the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study was published Jan. 24 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The more people exercised, the more the death rate declined. Ten minutes more of exercise per day was associated with the prevention of 6.9 percent of total deaths. Broken down by demographics, 10 minutes more of exercise per day was associated with prevention of 8 percent of total deaths per year among men, 5.9 percent among women, 7.3 percent among non-Hispanic Whites, 6.1 percent among non-Hispanic Blacks and 4.8 percent among Mexican Americans.

When activity increased by 20 minutes per day, the death prevention rate was 13 percent, and when activity increased 30 minutes more per day, the rate was 16.9 percent.

The study of 4,840 participants (53 percent being women, 10.4 percent being non-Hispanic Black and 5.1 percent being Mexican American) used accelerometer measurements to gauge the association of physical activity and mortality and to estimate the number of deaths prevented annually. Researchers used data recorded by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2003 and 2006. They then tracked the number of deaths through 2105. During that time, 1,165 deaths occurred.