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Physical Activity Patterns and Mortality: The Weekend Warrior and Activity Bouts

Shiroma, Eric J1; Lee, I-Min2,3; Schepps, Mitchell A1; Kamada, Masamitsu4; Harris, Tamara B1

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: August 23, 2018 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print - Issue - p
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001762
Original Investigation: PDF Only

PURPOSE This study aimed to examine how accelerometer-assessed physical activity accumulation patterns (e.g., is activity performed daily or only one or two days a week or is activity accrued in bouts) may affect the association with mortality.

METHODS Adults (N = 3438), aged 40 years and older, who wore an accelerometer (ActiGraph 7164), were drawn from the longitudinal follow-up of the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES, 2003-2006), a population-based survey of the United States. Accelerometer-assessed moderate-to-vigorous physical (MVPA) was described by activity patterns. Participants engaging in the majority of their activity on only one or two days a week were classified as ‘weekend warriors’. Activity bouts were defined as a period of at least moderate intensity lasting at least 10 minutes. Bout characteristics included bout frequency and length. Mortality was assessed through National Death Index matching through 2013. Mortality rates were compared among groups with different activity patterns.

RESULTS Over an average follow-up of 77.4 months, 394 deaths occurred. Compared to participants with <37.5 minutes of MVPA per week, those with greater amounts of activity had a 60-69% mortality rate reduction after adjusting for relevant covariables. Similar risk reductions were found when contrasting weekend warriors with those who were more frequently active. An increase of one MVPA bout per week was associated with an 13% increased mortality rate. Bout duration was not associated with mortality.

CONCLUSION Physical activity is associated with decreased mortality rate, even among those who are active one or two days a week.

1Laboratory of Epidemiology and Population Science, National Institute on Aging, Bethesda, MD;

2Division of Preventive Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA;

3Department of Epidemiology, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA;

4Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA

Corresponding Author: Eric J Shiroma, ScD MEd, 7201 Wisconsin Ave, Gateway Bldg, Suite 2N300, Bethesda, MD 20814, P: 301-496-1178, F: 301-496-4006,

The results of this study are presented clearly, honestly, and without fabrication, falsification, or inappropriate data manipulation. The results of the present study do not constitute endorsement by ACSM. This research is supported in part by the Intramural Research Program at the National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health (Harris, Schepps, Shiroma). MK was supported by the Overseas Research Fellowship of the Sasakawa Sports Foundation. The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Submitted for publication April 2018.

Accepted for publication July 2018.

© 2018 American College of Sports Medicine