Clinical Edge

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Leisure-Time Physical Activity Across Adulthood

JAMA Netw Open; ePub 2019 Mar 8; Saint-Maurice, et al

Long-term participation in physical activity may be important to lower mortality risk, while becoming physically active later in adulthood may provide comparable health benefits. This according to a prospective cohort study with data analyzed for 315,059 adult AAPR members living in 6 states or 2 metropolitan areas (Atlanta or Detroit). Interventions included self-reported leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) hours per week at the baseline interview for ages grouped as 15‒18, 19‒29, 35‒39, and 40‒61 years. Primary outcomes were all-cause, cardiovascular disease (CVD)-related, and cancer-related mortality. Researchers found:

  • 58.2% of participants were men, and participants were aged 50‒71 years at enrollment.
  • Maintaining physical activity from adolescence into later adulthood was associated with 29% to 36% lower risk for all-cause mortality.
  • Being inactive but increasing physical activity during midlife was associated with 32% to 35% lower risk for mortality.


Saint-Maurice PF, Coughlan D, Kelly SP, et al. Association of leisure-time physical activity across the adult life course with all-cause and cause-specific mortality. JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(3):e190355. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.0355.