Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Level of moderate-intensity leisure-time physical activity and reduced mortality in middle-aged and elderly Chinese
  1. Ying Liu1,
  2. Wanqing Wen1,
  3. Yu-Tang Gao2,
  4. Hong-Lan Li2,
  5. Gong Yang1,
  6. Yong-Bing Xiang2,
  7. Xiao-Ou Shu1,
  8. Wei Zheng1
  1. 1 Division of Epidemiology, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, USA
  2. 2 Department of Epidemiology, Shanghai Cancer Institute, Renji Hospital, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China
  1. Correspondence to Dr Wei Zheng, Division of Epidemiology, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee, 37203, USA; Wei.Zheng{at}


Background Few studies have prospectively evaluated the association of leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) with mortality in Asians, who are more susceptible to insulin resistance than their Caucasian counterparts.

Methods Data from two large prospective cohort studies conducted in Shanghai were evaluated. After excluding participants who had a history of cancer, coronary heart disease or stroke at baseline, or who died within the first 3 years after study enrolment, 53 839 men and 66 888 women, followed for an average of 9.2 and 14.7 years, respectively, remained for the study.

Results Compared with those who reported no exercise, a reduction in mortality with an HR of 0.86 (95% CI 0.80 to 0.93) was observed in those who regularly engage in moderate-intensity LTPA, even those who reported an LTPA level lower than the minimum amount recommended by the current physical activity guidelines (150 min or 7.5 metabolic equivalent hours per week). The association between moderate-intensity exercise and mortality followed a dose–response pattern until the amount of LTPA reached 3–5 times the recommended minimum level. A similar pattern of association was observed for cause-specific mortality due to cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancer or other causes.

Conclusion Regular participation in moderate-intensity LTPA was associated with reduced mortality, particularly CVD mortality, even when the LTPA was below the minimum level recommended by current guidelines. Increasing the amount of moderate-intensity LTPA was associated with further risk reduction up to a potential threshold of 3–5 times the recommended minimum.

  • physical activity
  • mortality
  • cancer
  • exercise
  • cardiovascular disease

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Contributors YL and WZ designed the research. WW, Y-TG, H-LL, GY, Y-BX, X-OS and WZ collected the data. YL and WW analysed the data. YL and WZ wrote the paper and had primary responsibility for final content. All authors interpreted the data, read and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding This work was supported by grants from the US National Institutes of Health (R01 CA082729, UM1 CA173640 to X-OS) and (R37 CA070867, UM1 CA182910 to WZ). The study sponsor had no role in study design; collection, analysis and interpretation of the data; writing of report; and decision to submit the report for publication.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Approval for human subjects research in these studies was granted by the institutional review boards of Shanghai Cancer Institute and Vanderbilt University Medical Center (00340 and 000598).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.