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“Weekend Warrors”, cardiovascular disease and cancer

O’Donovan et al report a pooled analysis of cohort studies to assess the relationship between various levels of exercise and risk of all cause cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality. The authors found a reduced rates of both end-points in “weekend warriors” and similar “insufficient” exercise levels compared to sedentary participants.

Abstract

IMPORTANCE

More research is required to clarify the association between physical activity
and health in “weekend warriors” who perform all their exercise in 1 or 2 sessions per week.

OBJECTIVE

To investigate associations between the weekend warrior and other physical
activity patterns and the risks for all-cause, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and cancer
mortality.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS

This pooled analysis of household-based surveillance
studies included 11 cohorts of respondents to the Health Survey for England and Scottish
Health Survey with prospective linkage to mortality records. Respondents 40 years or older
were included in the analysis. Data were collected from 1994 to 2012 and analyzed in 2016.

EXPOSURES

Self-reported leisure time physical activity, with activity patterns defined as
inactive (reporting no moderate- or vigorous-intensity activities), insufficiently active
(reporting activities), weekend warrior (reporting150 min/wk in moderate-intensity or75 min/wk
in vigorous-intensity activities from 1 or 2 sessions), and regularly active (reporting150
min/wk in moderate-intensity or75 min/wk in vigorous-intensity activities from3
sessions). The insufficiently active participants were also characterized by physical activity
frequency.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES

All-cause, CVD, and cancer mortality ascertained from
death certificates.

RESULTS

Among the 63 591 adult respondents (45.9% male; 44.1%female; mean [SD] age,
58.6 [11.9] years), 8802 deaths from all causes, 2780 deaths from CVD, and 2526 from cancer occurred during 561 159 person-years of follow-up. Compared with the inactive participants, the hazard ratio (HR) for all-cause mortality was 0.66 (95%CI, 0.62-0.72) in insufficiently active participants who reported 1 to 2 sessions per week, 0.70 (95%CI, 0.60-0.82) in weekend warrior participants, and 0.65 (95%CI, 0.58-0.73) in regularly active participants. Compared with the inactive participants, the HR for CVD mortality was 0.60 (95%CI, 0.52-0.69) in insufficiently active participants who reported 1 or 2 sessions per week, 0.60 (95%CI, 0.45-0.82) in weekend warrior participants, and 0.59 (95%CI, 0.48-0.73) in regularly active participants. Compared with the inactive participants, the HR for cancer mortality was 0.83 (95%CI, 0.73-0.94) in insufficiently active participants who reported 1 or 2 sessions per week, 0.82 (95%CI, 0.63-1.06) in weekend warrior participants, and 0.79 (95%CI, 0.66-0.94) in regularly active participants.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE

Weekend warrior and other leisure time physical activity patterns characterized by 1 or 2 sessions per week may be sufficient to reduce all-cause, CVD, and cancer mortality risks regardless of adherence to prevailing physical activity guidelines.

 

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