Risks of Physical Inactivity

Sedentary Lifestyle Health Risks | Sedentary Lifestyle Effects

Risks of Physical Inactivity | Johns Hopkins Medicine

April 13, 2017

First, you may be wondering what we are referring to when we mention a sedentary lifestyle. A sedentary lifestyle is defined as a type of lifestyle where an individual does not receive regular amounts of physical activity.

Where physical inactivity is considered the failure to meet the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), stating that an individual should participate in a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes of a more vigorous regimen.

Most health professionals are also in agreement that walking 10,000 steps a day (approximately 5 miles) is the ideal goal to set for improving health and reducing the health risks caused by inactivity.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 60 to 85% of the population worldwide does not engage in enough activity. Making physical inactivity the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality.

Traditional thought suggests that having a healthy diet and getting aerobic exercise will offset the effects of time spent being sedentary.

Even if you exercise for 30 minutes a day, you may not be able to counteract the effects brought on by a lack of activity throughout the rest of your day.

Rather, the solution seems to be less sitting and more moving overall, says Levine. Again, we suggest aiming for 10,000 steps a day.

Sedentary Lifestyle Health Effects

In 2005, James A. Levine, an obesity specialist at Mayo Clinic, pioneered the way for research on the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle by publishing an article in Science Magazine. Levine’s conclusion was that Any extended sitting – such as behind a desk at work or behind a wheel – can be harmful.

Levine has even gone as far as labeling sitting as the disease of our time. Now I’m sure it’s no surprise that sitting behind a desk, commuting or relaxing on the couch for too many hours a day can be harmful to your health, but what you may find surprising is the extent of havoc it is causing on your body.

According to an article posted by John Hopkins Medicine, physical inactivity has been shown to contribute to the following health conditions:

  • Physical inactivity may increase the risks of certain cancers.
  • Physical inactivity may contribute to anxiety and depression.
  • Physical inactivity has been shown to be a risk factor for certain cardiovascular diseases.
  • People who engage in more physical activity are less ly to develop coronary heart disease.
  • People who are more active are less ly to be overweight or obese.
  • Sitting too much may cause a decrease in skeletal muscle mass.
  • Physical inactivity is linked to high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels.

Worldwide, it is estimated that a sedentary lifestyle is responsible for 6% of coronary heart disease cases, 7% of type 2 diabetes, 10% of breast cancer and 10% of colon cancer cases. In fact, it was recently reported that inactivity is responsible for more annual deaths than smoking.

Sedentary Jobs

So why is it that we are more sedentary now than we were just 50 years ago? The main contributing factor to our increased sedentary lifestyles is technology. Technology has brought about more inactive modes of transit, caused an increase in sedentary desk jobs and has developed more activities that can be done while sitting (i.

e. watching TV, surfing the web, playing video games). Overall, sedentary jobs have increased 83% since 1950 and physically active jobs now make up only about 25% of our workforce, which is 50% less than in 1950. Additionally, our average work week is longer. Americans now work 47 hours a week–164 more hours a year than 20 years ago.

The good news is that this doesn’t have to be your fate. Though the general workplace movement is heading toward a more sedentary setting as machines continue to replace jobs in which require more activity, you don’t have to. The easiest way to increase activity levels is doing so at the workplace, a place in which the average individual spends up to eight or more hours sitting.

Simply by swapping out your chair for a treadmill desk or bike desk a few hours a day, you can significantly reduce the effects caused by inactivity. Within two weeks, people basically get addicted to walking and working, says Levine. You just have to give them the chance.

Source: https://www.lifespanfitness.com/canada/workplace/resources/articles/health-risks-of-a-sedentary-lifestyle

COVID-19: Infection Control in Your Home – COVID-19 – Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Risks of Physical Inactivity | Johns Hopkins Medicine

If someone in your home is sick—whether confirmed or suspected to be COVID-19—that doesn’t mean all members of the household will get sick. There are still things that everyone in a home can do that may help reduce risk of transmission.

Anna C. Sick-Samuels and Raphael P. Viscidi, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine offered some guidance on the most important things to do—and how the equation changes if one of your family members is in a high-risk category.

Risk-Reducing Behavior Matters

Most often, the virus will spread through very close contacts with people who are sick with symptoms or from touching your face or mouth with contaminated hands. So, risk-reducing behaviors are the most important priority.

That means encouraging more rigorous and frequent handwashing—especially when entering or leaving the house and after using the bathroom; avoiding touching faces; coughing or sneezing into our elbows; and throwing away used tissues.


Spring Cleaning Could Save Lives

Regardless of whether or not anyone in the household is sick, everyone should be stepping up hygiene. It’s also a good idea to disinfect frequently touched surfaces door knobs and light switches.

A CDC how-to guide gives tips on how to clean everything from carpets to laundry, what solutions to use, and specific precautions to take. If someone in the house is sick, give them a separate, lined trash can if possible, and use gloves or wash hands after handling the trash.

Increasing ventilation by opening windows and adjusting air conditioning could help, too.

A Little Distance Could Keep You Healthy

People should try to keep some physical distance—ideally 6 feet apart—between a sick person and other household members, when feasible.

If it’s possible to relocate a high-risk or sick person to a separate room or even another home, that could help. But that isn’t practical or possible for everyone.

If you don’t live in a mansion—or can’t give someone their own room and bathroom—don’t despair. What’s really important are the behaviors.

Remember, too, that if one member is in a high-risk category (e.g. older people and those with significant underlying conditions), that calls for heightened vigilance.

Healthy household members should behave as though they pose a significant risk to more vulnerable members even before anyone is sick, according to a CDC guide with infection control strategies tailored to a variety of settings and situations.

Anna C. Sick-Samuels, MD, MPH, is an instructor of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and associate hospital epidemiologist for Johns Hopkins Hospital.  

Raphael P. Viscidi, MD, is a virologist and professor of pediatrics and oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and is on faculty at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

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Source: https://www.jhsph.edu/covid-19/articles/covid-19-infection-control-in-your-home.html

Institute for Health and Productivity Studies

Risks of Physical Inactivity | Johns Hopkins Medicine

APRIL 20-24, 2020

Join Dr. Goetzel at the Art & Science of Health Promotion Conference, where he will offer an intensive training seminar on “Evaluating Workplace Health Promotion Programs.”

JUNE 28, 2019

Good Health is Good Business event/webcast in Washington, DC. U.S.

Please join IHPS, Bipartisan Policy Center, and the de Beaumont Foundation for the release of a new report on the value of building partnerships between businesses and local public health departments. Surgeon General Dr.

Jerome Adams will keynote this event. An expert panel will discuss the opportunities and challenges for cross-sector partnerships between public health departments and businesses.

JUNE 26-27, 2019

Ignite Wellness Summit at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC. This event brings together the business community, nonprofit partners, and government representatives to advance progress, partnerships, and the economy through health. Dr. Goetzel will be a panelist for “Getting on Board: Business Involvement in Community Health.” 

JUNE 24, 2019

AcademyHealth Study Snapshot: Employer Investments in Internal Culture of Health Improve Stock Performance outlines IHPS research (funded by RWJF) on the link between internal & external cultures of health, company performance, & employee health.

APRIL 6, 2019

Workplace Mental Wellness Conference at Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center in Plainsboro, NJ.

APRIL 1-5, 2019

29th Annual Art & Science of Health Promotion Conference. Dr. Goetzel will be presenting at the main conference on the latest research and also running a 2-day intensive training seminar on program evaluation. (Intensive Training Seminars: April 1 & 2 | Core Conference: April 3-5).


The application for the 2019 C. Everett Koop Award is now available online.


Press Release: Three Companies Recognized with C. Everett Koop National Health Award Honorable Mentions for their Efforts to Improve Employee Health and Achieve Business Results

Congratulations to Kaiser Permanente, LG&E and KU Energy, and MaineGeneral Health on being recognized as Honorable Mentions in the 2018 C. Everett Koop National Health Award.


Press Release: Five Experts Join The Health Project Board of Directors

Resister now to join Dr. Roemer for her panel discussion and breakout session at the The Global Workplace Wellness Summit (Nov 7-8, 2018, San Mateo, CA) on the benefits and “how-to’s” of measuring and evaluating your wellness initiatives.

MAY 2018

The deadline for the C. Everett National Koop Awards has been extended to June 15th, 2018. Read about the award and find the application here.

Article: What have companies done to improve our quality of life? Ron Goetzel was invited by the Brazilian Association of Quality of Life to participate in a national congress on the theme and the Scientific Meeting of the Coalition Health Institute.

APRIL 2018

IHPS mentioned in Google's FoodLab Magazine

Press release: 'Call to Action' on Mental Health and Well-Being in the Workplace 


JHU is working with the CDC to update their Worksite Health ScoreCard, and is looking for organizations interested in participating in a pilot test of the new tool. Participants will receive a comprehensive benchmarking report at the end of the study. If you or a colleague may be interested, please click here for more information.


The C. Everett Koop Award application for 2018 is now available here.

NOVEMBER 6, 2017

Parade Magazine's article, Wellness at Work: The New Healthy Epidemic features Dr. Ron Goetzel's research and addresses why business is now onboard with workplace wellness programs. Also featured is the C. Everett Koop National Health Award.

OCTOBER 5, 2017

Improving Mental Health and Well Being Makes $en$e for States (Webcast, 1:00-2:30pm EST). The forum will be a discussion among some of the key thought leaders on the state of mental health both on the federal level and in the states and care models, policy changes and opportunities as well as resources available for advocates working for change.

SEPTEMBER 21, 2017

Dr. Ron Goetzel interviewed Dr. Vivek Murthy, former Surgeon General of the United States. This video was viewed during the Koop Awards Ceremony at the 2017 HERO Forum.

AUGUST 29, 2017

The Health Project announced three companies were selected by a panel of judges for Honorable Mention recognition for the C. Everett Koop National Health Award in 2017. The winners will be presented with their awards at the 2017 Annual HERO Forum in Phoenix, AZ held September 12 – September 14, 2017.

AUGUST 15, 2017

ChangeLab has released its Walk This Way resource, which outlines state and local policies that support physical activity and wellness in and around the workplace. IHPS provided subject matter expertise in support of this CDC funded project.

AUGUST 15, 2017

CDC's “New Frontiers in Workplace Health” Grand Rounds Presentation: Recording featuring Casey Chosewood, Laura Linnan, Jason Lang, and our own Ron Goetzel.

JULY 25 – 26, 2017

2nd Annual National Employee Well-being Conference and Exhibition. Dr. Enid Chung Roemer served as the conference chairperson and discussed “Stakeholders View on Building a Well-being Ecosystem.”

MARCH 27 – 31, 2017

Intensive 2-day training seminar: How to Evaluate Workplace Health Promotion Programs, Art & Science of Health Promotion Conference

FEB, 2017

IHPS (in partnership with IBM Watson Health) receives one of eight grants from RWJF to build the evidence base for how private-sector investment can help build a Culture of Health

FEB 7, 2017

Health Affairs Issue Briefing: The Work/Health Relationship

JAN 23, 2017

Building A Culture Of Workplace Health: More Complicated Than Offering Workers Money To Be Healthy

DEC 9, 2016

Bipartisan Policy Center's webcast on Exploring the Role of the Business Community in Improving Health

NOV 15, 2016

Maryland State Council on Cancer Control Annual Cancer Conference

OCT 20, 2016

Mental Health in the Workplace: A Public Health Summit

SEPT 30, 2016

Wellness programs carry value for employees, bottom line

SEPT 27-29, 2016

HERO Forum on Leading in Well-Being: Workplaces Influencing the Health of Employees, Families and Communities, Atlanta, GA

SEPT 13, 2016

Press Release: Boise School District Receives C. Everett Koop National Health Award for Efforts to Improve Employee Health and Reduce Costs

SEPT 2, 2016

How Can The Government Improve Prevention Programs In The Workplace?

MAR 31, 2016

How to Design a Corporate Wellness Plan That Actually Works

MAR 7, 2016

Money stress is a productivity killer at work

FEB 9, 2016

Press Release: New publication by Dr. Goetzel and colleagues on promoting healthy workplaces by building cultures of health and applying strategic communications

JAN 6, 2016

Press Release: The Health Project publishes a new study on the stock performances of companies that have won the C. Everett Koop Award

OCT 6, 2015

News Release: New Workplace Wellness Guide from Transamerica Center for Health Studies and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

FEB 9, 2015

CDC’s Workplace Health Research Network launched at UNC

JAN 21, 2015

Obesity Prevention and Control in Worksite Settings

NOV 6, 2014

Employee Health Management Programs – Do they work?

NOV 1, 2014
Debunking the myths about workplace wellness

SEPT 17, 2014
The Health Project announces the 2014 C. Everett Koop Award Winners

AUG 26, 2014
New journal publication: Do workplace health promotion (wellness) programs work?

APR 3, 2014
Press Release: Truven Health Analytics and JHSPH launch IHPS

Source: https://www.jhsph.edu/research/centers-and-institutes/institute-for-health-and-productivity-studies/

The High Cost of Inactivity

Risks of Physical Inactivity | Johns Hopkins Medicine

There was a time long ago when the leading causes of death were due to non-preventable factors age and gender.

Sadly, we now live in a time when children and adults, and men and women a are developing chronic diseases caused by preventable risk factors such as poor diet and sedentary lifestyles.

As a matter of fact, physical inactivity is now the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality[i].

As a nation, we spend far more time sitting on the couch and scrolling through our Instagram feed than we do moving our bodies. All of this sedentary living is costing us dearly, not only wreaking havoc on our physical health, but also robbing us of our emotional wellbeing and hitting us where it hurts the most—our wallets. Here’s a look at the price we pay for inactivity:

Quality of Life

Regular physical activity can boost mood and decrease anxiety, depression and anger[ii]. In fact, many therapists recommend regular physical activity as part of a treatment plan to combat the effects of depression.

The amount of sitting we do can lead to daily discomforts chronic back pain and has even been shown to knock years off of our lifespan[iii]. Furthermore, objects in motion tend to stay in motion.

If you’re regularly moving your body, it’s easier to continue moving and to say yes to all that an active lifestyle has to offer—social activities, hiking, running, dancing, biking, etc.

Physical Health
Only 55 percent of adults engage in enough physical activity to achieve its health benefits, and that number is even lower for children, with only 25 percent meeting activity guidelines[iv].

Sedentary lifestyles can lead to a decrease in bone density and lean muscle mass; tightened hip muscles; and an overall loss in muscle strength, making even small daily tasks more difficult[v]—and that’s just the minor stuff.

Lack of regular physical activity also increases the risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some cancers[vi].  

Our Wallets
Physical inactivity accounts for roughly 8.7 percent of U.S. health care expenditures, or approximately $117 billion per year. Adults who are physically active spend nearly $1,500 less per year on health care than inactive adults[vii]. Moving our culture from sedentary to active could save us billions of dollars in health care costs in the years to come.

Physical inactivity is an equal opportunity issue, affecting all Americans regardless of race, age or gender, directly or indirectly. If you’re wondering, “Where is the silver lining?” we’ve got good news—the inactivity crisis is entirely preventable.

Each and every one of us can make positive changes to get ourselves and others moving. Start with small actions, committing to more outdoor, active family time; using your voice to vote for candidates that support physical activity; or incorporating walking and standing into your work day.

Most importantly, we all need to adopt the attitude that small actions can cause big change.

For more information on how ACE works to create a more active culture check out our Key Position Statements.

[i] World Health Organization (2016). Physical Activity. Retrieved from who.int.

[ii] Johns Hopkins Medicine (2017). Risks of Physical Inactivity. Retrieved from http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/cardiovascular_diseases/risks_of_physical_inactivity_85,p00218/.

[iii] Biswas A, Oh PI, Faulkner GE, Bajaj RR, Silver MA, Mitchell MS, et al.

Sedentary Time and Its Association with Risk for Disease Incidence, Mortality, and Hospitalization in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Ann Intern Med. 2015; 162:123-132.

Retrieved from http://annals.org/aim/article/2091327/sedentary-time-its-association-risk-disease-incidence-mortality-hospitalization-adults.

[iv] Trust for America’s Health, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (2016). The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America. Retrieved from stateofobesity.org.

[v] World Health Organization (2002). Physical Inactivity a Leading Cause of Disease and Disability, Warns WHO. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/release23/en/.

[vi] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2014). Facts about Physical Activity. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/data/facts.htm.

[vii] Carlson SA, Fulton JE, Pratt M, Yang Z, Adams EK. Inadequate Physical Activity and Health Care Expenditures in the United States. Progress in cardiovascular diseases. 2015;57(4):315-323. 2014.08.002. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604440/.

Source: https://www.acefitness.org/about-ace/our-efforts/blog/6297/the-high-cost-of-inactivity/

Original article: Depressive symptoms, physical inactivity and risk of cardiovascular mortality in older adults: the Cardiovascular Health Study

Risks of Physical Inactivity | Johns Hopkins Medicine

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Teens get as much physical activity as 60-year-olds, study shows

Risks of Physical Inactivity | Johns Hopkins Medicine

Lack of physical activity is a risk factor for many serious conditions. The fact that neither adults nor teenagers get as much exercise as they should is, perhaps, not very surprising. But new research shows that the situation might be a lot more worrying than previously believed.

Share on PinterestTeenagers get as much physical exercise as seniors, according to a new study.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that adults engage in at least 2.5 hours of physical activity per week.

The CDC also report that only 1 in 5 adults gets this much physical activity. People who do not get the exercise they need are more ly to die prematurely or develop a range of serious illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, and some forms of cancer.

Not only do adults not get enough exercise, but teenagers fare even worse. Fewer than 3 in 10 high school students get a minimum of 60 minutes of daily physical activity, which is the level of exercise recommended by both the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO).

New research, published in the journal Preventive Medicine, suggests that the situation might be even more grim than previously thought; levels of physical activity among teenagers are surprisingly low, the study finds.

The team of researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, MD, set out to examine levels of physical activity across several age groups. Additionally, the research looked at different times of the day and their corresponding levels of activity, as well as differences in exercise patterns according to gender.

The study’s senior author was Vadim Zipunnikov, an assistant professor in the Bloomberg School’s Department of Biostatistics.

Prof. Zipunnikov and colleagues examined a total of 12,529 participants, accessing the data available from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys carried out in 2003-2004 and 2005-2006.

The participants continuously wore tracking devices for 7 consecutive days, taking them off only when they went to bed or had a shower.

These devices tracked how long the participants were sedentary for, and for how long they engaged in light or moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.

The scientists divided the participants into five groups according to age: children (aged between 6 and 11), adolescents (12 to 19 years old), young adults (aged between 20 and 29), midlife adults (31 to 59 years old), and older adults (aged between 60 and 84).

In terms of gender, 49 percent of the participants were male, and 51 percent were female.

Overall, males tended to be more physically active than females, particularly excelling at high-intensity activity.

After midlife, however, physical activity levels in males plummeted, compared with females. In the group aged 60 years and above, males were considerably less physically active, more sedentary, and engaged in less light-intensity physical activity than females.

Researchers found a spike in physical activity levels in only one age group: the 20-something-year-old adults. People in this group tended to be more active in the early morning.

Surprisingly, the study found that teenagers were at the highest risk of being physically inactive, and in their late teens, this group was ly to get as little exercise as seniors.

The study is particularly significant given the high childhood obesity rates in the United States. The CDC report that approximately 12.7 million U.S. children and teenagers are obese.

“Activity levels at the end of adolescence were alarmingly low, and by age 19, they were comparable to 60-year-olds. For school-age children, the primary window for activity was the afternoon between 2 and 6 p.m. So the big question is how do we modify daily schedules, in schools for example, to be more conducive to increasing physical activity?”

Prof. Vadim Zipunnikov

Furthermore, the study confirmed that children and teenagers do not meet the WHO’s guidelines for physical activity.

“The goal of campaigns aimed at increasing physical activity has focused on increasing higher-intensity exercise,” explains Prof. Zipunnikov. “Our study suggests that these efforts should consider time of day and also focus on increasing lower-intensity physical activity and reducing inactivity.”

Learn how low physical activity can increase risk of bladder and kidney cancer.

Source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317975

Wearable Activity Trackers a Reliable Tool for Predicting Death Risk in Older Adults

Risks of Physical Inactivity | Johns Hopkins Medicine

Newswise — A federally funded study by Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers shows that wearable accelerometers — mechanical sensors worn a watch, belt or bracelet to track movement — are a more reliable measure of physical activity and better than patient surveys and other methods used by physicians at assessing five-year risk of death in older adults.

The research also added to evidence that an accurate and objective accounting of physical activity outperforms traditional predictors of mortality within five years, such as age, smoking, diabetes, alcohol use, or history of cancer or heart disease.

these findings, the researchers say physicians could confidently use the devices’ fitness profiles to help patients change unhealthy behaviors, increase physical activity and, potentially, extend healthy lifespans.

While their study is far from the first to report an association between physical activity and risk of death, the investigators say their findings, reported in the Oct. 15 issue of The Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, is among the first to offer solid evidence that wearable activity trackers provide key predictors of mortality that outperform other measures.

“People can overestimate or underestimate on surveys how much and when they move, but wearable devices provide accurate data that cuts through the bias and guesswork,” says Jacek Urbanek, Ph.D.

, assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a member of the research team.

“The technology is readily available and relatively inexpensive, so it seems feasible to be able to incorporate recommendations for its use into a physician’s practice.” 

“We’ve been interested in studying physical activity and how accumulating it in spurts throughout the day could predict mortality because activity is a factor that can be changed, un age or genetics,” says Ciprian Crainiceanu, Ph.D., professor of biostatistics at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who is also a member of the research team.

For the new study, the researchers focused on the total amount of physical activity and times the participants were most active during the day.

First, using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted by the U.S.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), researchers looked at 33 predictors of five-year all-cause mortality, including 20 objective measures of physical activity, such as total activity, amount of time not moving or amount of time doing moderate to vigorous activity.

In this way, they ranked physical activity and other factors, such as total cholesterol, smoking status, and having cancer or diabetes, to identify which ones best predict mortality within the following five years of the study population.

For their look at physical activity, the researchers used accelerometry data from nearly 3,000 adult Americans collected during the NHANES 2003–2004 and NHANES 2005–2006 surveys.

Individual data came from responses to demographic, socioeconomic and health-related survey questions, along with information accessed from medical records and clinical laboratory test results.

Participants were asked to wear an accelerometer device at the hip for seven consecutive days, removing it only when sleeping, showering or swimming.

The average age the study group was 65.9, and all participants were between 50 and 84 years old.  While the gender proportion was nearly even — men made up 51% — a larger percentage of the men, 65%, died within five years of the study’s follow up efforts.

After studying each individual variable associated with mortality — including education, sedentary time, and ethnicity — the researchers concluded that the total measure of physical activity accumulated during each day was the strongest predictor of five-year mortality, followed by age and moderate-to-vigorous activity.

When comparing the data of a person who died within five years and a person who survived, researchers said they were able to correctly rank the mortality risk using accelerometers 30% more accurately than using information about smoking status and 40% better than using information about whether a person suffered a stroke or had cancer.

With a focus on fragmented activity, researchers also collected data for two-hour spans throughout the day in order to look at patterns in physical activities.

Their analysis showed that physical activity — or lack thereof — between noon and 2 p.m.

was the highest predictor of mortality risk, outperforming more commonly considered risk factors such as diabetes, cancer and alcohol consumption.

The researchers caution that their study wasn’t designed to establish cause and effect, however, they did note that their data suggests that being more sedentary during the day is linked with higher mortality.

“The most surprising finding was that a simple summary of measures of activity derived from a hip-worn accelerometer over a week outperformed well-established mortality risk factors such as age, cancer, diabetes and smoking,” says Ekaterina Smirnova, M.S., Ph.D., assistant professor of biostatistics at Virginia Commonwealth University and the lead author on the paper.

“While this study affirmed a link between physical activity and short-term mortality risk in an older population, the data don’t guarantee that one’s risk of mortality is going to be lower with more physical activity,” noted Andrew Leroux, a Ph.D.

candidate at Johns Hopkins and co-author of the study report.

“However, our findings do indicate that an accurate measure of physical activity is a more reliable way for doctors and patients to assess physical activity and intervene to increase it as a potential way to improve health.”

The researchers hope to use their data to help design clinical trials that could confirm the potential for physical activity to increase lifespan. One caveat to the study is that researchers aren’t able to distinguish sedentary behavior from sleep or if someone has removed the device.

Additional co-authors are Vadim Zipunnikov of Johns Hopkins, Quy Cao of the University of Montana and Lucia Tabacu of Old Dominion University. 

The study was supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (RO1 HL123407), the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and a training grant from the National Institute on Aging (T32 AG000247).

No investigator reported any conflict of interest in the preparation of the study.

Source: https://www.newswise.com/articles/wearable-activity-trackers-a-reliable-tool-for-predicting-death-risk-in-older-adults