The Association of Physical Activity and Mortality Risk Reduction Among Smokers: Results From 1998–2009 National Health Interview Surveys–National Death Index Linkage

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Background: The mortality benefits of meeting the US federal guidelines for physical activity, which includes recommendations for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities, have never been examined among smokers. Our aim was to investigate the association between reporting to meet the guidelines and all-cause, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory disease mortality among smokers. Methods: We pooled data from the 1998–2009 National Health Interview Survey, which were linked to records in the National Death Index (n = 68,706). Hazard ratios (HR) were computed to estimate the effect of meeting the physical activity guidelines on mortality. Results: Smokers who reported meeting the guidelines for physical activity had 29% lower risk of all-cause mortality (HR: 0.71; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.62–0.81), 46% lower risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease (HR: 0.54; 95% CI, 0.39–0.76), and 26% lower risk of mortality from cancer (HR: 0.74; 95% CI, 0.59–0.93), compared with those who reported meeting neither the aerobic nor the muscle-strengthening recommendations of the guidelines. Meeting the aerobic recommendation of the guidelines was associated with a 42% decline in that risk (HR: 0.58; 95% CI, 0.44–0.77). Conclusion: Smokers who adhere to physical activity guidelines show a significant reduction in mortality.

Siahpush, Grimm, Ramos, Michaud, and Johansson are with the Department of Health Promotion, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE. Levan and Nguyen are with the Department of Epidemiology, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE.

Siahpush (msiahpush@unmc.edu) is corresponding author.
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