Physical inactivity, excess adiposity and premature mortality
Summary The purpose of this report is to review the evidence that physical inactivity and excess adiposity are related to an increased risk of all-cause mortality, and to better identify the independent contributions of each to all-cause mortality rates. A variance-based method of meta-analysis was used to summarize the relationships from available studies. The summary relative risk of all-cause mortality for physical activity from the 55 analyses (31 studies) that included an index of adiposity as a covariate was 0.80 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.78–0.82], whereas it was 0.82 [95% CI 0.80–0.84] for the 44 analyses (26 studies) that did not include an index of adiposity. Thus, physically active individuals have a lower risk of mortality by comparison to physically inactive peers, independent of level of adiposity. The summary relative risk of all-cause mortality for an elevated body mass index (BMI) from the 25 analyses (13 studies) that included physical activity as a covariate was 1.23 [95% CI 1.18–1.29], and it was 1.24 [95% CI 1.21–1.28] for the 81 analyses (36 studies) that did not include physical activity as a covariate. Studies that used a measure of adiposity other than the BMI show similar relationships with mortality, and stratified analyses indicate that both physical inactivity and adiposity are important determinants of mortality risk.