Examination of activity in the Framingham cohort reveals that this is a sedentary population. Overall mortality and mortality due to cardiovascular and ischemic heart disease were inversely related to the level of physical activity for men. The effect of being sedentary on mortality is rather modest compared to the effects of other risk factors but, in mortality due to ischemic heart disease, it persists when these factors are taken into account. For women, the effect is negligible. In strokes, occlusive peripheral arterial disease, and cardiac failure, an inverse relationship is noted, but does not reach statistical significance. There is a statistically significant association with incidence of ischemic heart disease and with incidence of all forms of cardiovascular disease when they are taken together. Little correlation was noted between physical activity level (at the generally low level found) and the level of major risk factors.
(Arch Intern Med 139:857-861, 1979)