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Even a low-dose of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity reduces mortality by 22% in adults aged ≥60 years: a systematic review and meta-analysis
  1. David Hupin1,2,3,
  2. Frédéric Roche1,2,
  3. Vincent Gremeaux4,5,6,
  4. Jean-Claude Chatard1,3,
  5. Mathieu Oriol7,8,
  6. Jean-Michel Gaspoz9,
  7. Jean-Claude Barthélémy1,2,
  8. Pascal Edouard1,3
  1. 1Department of Clinical and Exercise Physiology, University Hospital of Saint-Etienne, PRES Lyon, Jean Monnet University, Saint-Etienne, France
  2. 2EA SNA EPIS 4607, Autonomic Nervous System, University of Lyon, Saint-Etienne, France
  3. 3EA LPE 4338, Laboratory of Exercise Physiology, University of Lyon, Saint Etienne, France
  4. 4Rehabilitation Departments, University Hospital of Dijon, Dijon, France
  5. 5Faculty of Sport Sciences, INSERM-U1093, University of Burgundy, Dijon, France
  6. 6CIC INSERM 1432, Technological Platform, University Hospital of Dijon, Dijon, France
  7. 7Department of Public Health, Hygee Centre, Regional Centre for Cancer Prevention, Saint-Priest-en-Jarez, France
  8. 8CIC 1408 INSERM, Jean Monnet University, Saint-Etienne, France
  9. 9Division of Primary Care Medicine, Department of Community Medicine, Primary Care and Emergency Medicine, Geneva University Hospitals, Geneva, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Dr David Hupin, CHU Saint-Etienne, Hôpital Nord, Service de Physiologie Clinique et de l'Exercice, Centre VISAS, Bâtiment A-3è étage, 42055 Saint-Etienne, Cedex 2, France; d.hupin{at}


Background The health benefits of 150 min a week of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA) in older adults, as currently recommended, are well established, but the suggested dose in older adults is often not reached.

Objectives We aimed to determine whether a lower dose of MVPA was effective in reducing mortality, in participants older than 60 years.

Methods The PubMed and Embase databases were searched from inception to February 2015. Only prospective cohorts were included. Risk ratios of death were established into four doses based on weekly Metabolic Equivalent of Task (MET)-minutes, defined as inactive (reference), low (1–499), medium (500–999) or high (≥1000). Data were pooled and analysed through a random effects model using comprehensive meta-analysis software.

Results Of the 835 reports screened, nine cohort studies remained, totalling 122 417 participants, with a mean follow-up of 9.8±2.7 years and 18 122 reported deaths (14.8%). A low dose of MVPA resulted in a 22% reduction in mortality risk (RR=0.78 (95% CI 0.71 to 0.87) p<0.0001). MVPA beyond this threshold brought further benefits, reaching a 28% reduction in all-cause mortality in older adults who followed the current recommendations (RR=0.72 (95% CI 0.65 to 0.80) p<0.0001) and a 35% reduction beyond 1000 MET-min per week (RR=0.65 (95% CI 0.61 to 0.70) p<0.0001).

Conclusions A dose of MVPA below current recommendations reduced mortality by 22% in older adults. A further increase in physical activity dose improved these benefits in a linear fashion. Older adults should be encouraged to include even low doses of MVPA in their daily lives.

  • Elderly people
  • Physical activity
  • Health promotion
  • Public health
  • Meta-analysis

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