Associations of specific types of sports and exercise with all-cause and cardiovascular-disease mortality: a cohort study of 80 306 British adults

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Abstract

Background/Aim

Evidence for the long-term health effects of specific sport disciplines is scarce. Therefore, we examined the associations of six different types of sport/exercise with all-cause and cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality risk in a large pooled Scottish and English population-based cohort.

Methods

Cox proportional hazards regression was used to investigate the associations between each exposure and all-cause and CVD mortality with adjustment for potential confounders in 80 306 individuals (54% women; mean±SD age: 52±14 years).

Results

Significant reductions in all-cause mortality were observed for participation in cycling (HR=0.85, 95% CI 0.76 to 0.95), swimming (HR=0.72, 95% CI 0.65 to 0.80), racquet sports (HR=0.53, 95% CI 0.40 to 0.69) and aerobics (HR=0.73, 95% CI 0.63 to 0.85). No significant associations were found for participation in football and running. A significant reduction in CVD mortality was observed for participation in swimming (HR=0.59, 95% CI 0.46 to 0.75), racquet sports (HR=0.44, 95% CI 0.24 to 0.83) and aerobics (HR=0.64, 95% CI 0.45 to 0.92), but there were no significant associations for cycling, running and football. Variable dose–response patterns between the exposure and the outcomes were found across the sport disciplines.

Conclusions

These findings demonstrate that participation in specific sports may have significant benefits for public health. Future research should aim to further strengthen the sport-specific epidemiological evidence base and understanding of how to promote greater sports participation.

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