Background: Previous epidemiological studies examining the association between physical activity (PA) and mortality risk have measured absolute PA intensity using standard resting metabolic rate reference values that fail to consider individual differences. This study compared the risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality between absolute and corrected estimates of PA volume. Methods: 49,982 adults aged ≥40 years who participated in the Health Survey for England and Scottish Health Survey in 1994–2008 were included in our study. PA was classified as absolute or corrected metabolic equivalent (MET)-hours per week, taking participant’s weight, height, age, and sex into account. Cox regression models were used to examine the association between absolute and corrected PA volumes and all-cause and cardiovascular mortality. Results: The authors found no difference in the association between levels of PA and risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality for absolute and corrected MET-hours per week, although there was a consistent decrease in mortality risk with increasing PA. There was no difference in mortality when analyses were stratified by sex, age, and body mass index. Conclusions: The association between PA volume and risk of mortality was similar regardless of whether PA volume was estimated using absolute or corrected METs. There is no empirical justification against the use of absolute METs to estimate PA volume from questionnaires.
Martenstyn, Powell, Nassar, and Stamatakis are with Charles Perkins Centre, Sydney School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia. Hamer is with the Institute of Sport Exercise & Health, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University College London, United Kingdom.