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Association between domains of physical activity and all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality

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Few studies have investigated the independent effects of domain-specific physical activity on mortality. We sought to investigate the association of physical activity performed in different domains of daily living on all-cause, cardiovascular (CVD) and cancer mortality. Using a prospective cohort design, 4,672 men and women, aged 25–74 years, who participated in the baseline examination of the MONICA/KORA Augsburg Survey 1989/1990 were classified according to their activity level (no, light, moderate, vigorous). Domains of self-reported physical activity (work, transportation, household, leisure time) and total activity were assessed by the validated MOSPA (MONICA Optional Study on Physical Activity) questionnaire. After a median follow-up of 17.8 years, a total of 995 deaths occurred, with 452 from CVD and 326 from cancer. For all-cause mortality, hazard ratios and 95% confidence interval (HR, 95% CI) of the highly active versus the inactive reference group were 0.69 (0.48–1.00) for work, 0.48 (0.36–0.65) for leisure time, and 0.73 (0.59–0.90) for total activity after multivariable adjustments. Reduced risks of CVD mortality were observed for high levels of work (0.54, 0.31–0.93), household (0.80, 0.54–1.19), leisure time (0.50, 0.31–0.79) and total activity (0.75, 0.55–1.03). Leisure time (0.36, 0.23–0.59) and total activity (0.62, 0.43–0.88) were associated with reduced risks of cancer mortality. Light household activity was related to lower all-cause (0.82, 0.71–0.95) and CVD (0.72, 0.58–0.89) mortality. No clear effects were found for transportation activities. Our findings suggest that work, household, leisure time and total physical activity, but not transportation activity, may protect from premature mortality.

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95% CI:

95% Confidence Interval


Body Mass Index


Blood Pressure


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Cardiovascular Disease


High-density Lipoprotein Cholesterol


Hazard Ratio


International Classification of Diseases


Metabolic Equivalent(s)


Monitoring of Trends and Determinants in Cardiovascular Disease/Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg


MONICA Optional Study on Physical Activity


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The KORA research platform (KORA, Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg) and the MONICA Augsburg studies were initiated and financed by the Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Center for Environmental Health (formerly GSF, National Research Center for Environment and Health), which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and by the State of Bavaria. The present study was performed within the KORA Age project which was financed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF FKZ 01ET0713). We thank all members of the Institute of Epidemiology of the Helmholtz Zentrum München and the field staff in Augsburg who were involved in the planning and conduct of the MONICA/KORA Augsburg studies. We are thankful to Prof. Dr. med Ulrich Keil, PhD, the principal investigator of the WHO MONICA Augsburg project. Finally, we express our appreciation to all study participants.

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Correspondence to Barbara Thorand.

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Autenrieth, C.S., Baumert, J., Baumeister, S.E. et al. Association between domains of physical activity and all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality. Eur J Epidemiol 26, 91–99 (2011).

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