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Cardiology Research and Practice
Volume 2011, Article ID 924945, 10 pages
Review Article

Physical Inactivity and Mortality Risk

1Cardiology Department, Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 50 Irving Street NW, Washington, DC 20422, USA
2School of Medicine Georgetown University, 4000 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, DC 20007, USA
3School of Medicine and Health Care Sciences, George Washington University, Washington, DC 20052, USA
4Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 50 Irving Street NW, Washington, DC 20422, USA

Received 27 September 2010; Accepted 26 November 2010

Academic Editor: Demosthenes Panagiotakos

Copyright © 2011 Peter Kokkinos et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In recent years a plethora of epidemiologic evidence accumulated supports a strong, independent and inverse, association between physical activity and the fitness status of an individual and mortality in apparently healthy individuals and diseased populations. These health benefits are realized at relatively low fitness levels and increase with higher physical activity patterns or fitness status in a dose-response fashion. The risk reduction is at least in part attributed to the favorable effect of exercise or physical activity on the cardiovascular risk factors, namely, blood pressure, diabetes mellitus and obesity. In this review, we examine evidence from epidemiologic and interventional studies in support of the association between exercise and physical activity and health. In addition, we present the exercise effects on the aforementioned risk factors. Finally, we include select dietary approaches and their impact on risk factors and overall mortality risk.