In 1968-70, 17,944 middle-aged male executive grade civil servants in Great Britain provided a record of their leisure-time activities for two sample days and they have been followed until the end of 1977. In a 20% sample (3591 men), 268 have died. Men who had reported "vigorous exercise" (VE) during the two days suffered fewer deaths from coronary heart disease throughout the years 1968-77; there was no significant difference in mortality from other causes. VE men recorded more physical activity in general, and they saw themselves as physically more active than the rest. Total physical activity scores, however, were weakly related to coronary mortality. Men reporting vigorous exercise smoked somewhat less than other men, but the two factors were independently associated with mortality from coronary heart disease.
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