Table of Contents
Epidemiology Research International
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 304937, 10 pages
Research Article

Can We Make Time for Physical Activity? Simulating Effects of Daily Physical Activity on Mortality

1Health Analysis Division, Statistics Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1A 0T6
2Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1H 8L1
3Departments of Pediatrics, Human Kinetics, and Epidemiology and Community Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1N 6N5
4Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1N 6N5
5Departments of Family Medicine and Epidemiology and Community Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1N 6N5

Received 21 October 2011; Revised 22 March 2012; Accepted 23 April 2012

Academic Editor: Kimberley Edwards

Copyright © 2012 Geoff Rowe 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.


Background. The link between physical activity and health outcomes is well established, yet levels of physical activity remain low. This study quantifies effects on mortality of the substitution of low activity episodes by higher activity alternatives using time-use data. Methods. Sample time profiles are representative of the Canadian population (). Activity time and mortality are linked using metabolic equivalents(METs). Mortality risk is determined by peak daily METs and hours spent sedentary. The impact of altering activity patterns is assessed using simulated life expectancy. Results. If all leisure screen time was replaced with an equal amount of time spent going for a walk, an increase in life expectancy of about 2.5 years (95% CI, 1.4 to 3.8) would be expected. No other activity category would have as large as an effect. Conclusions. Reducing leisure screen time has a large effect, because seniors particularly have a large potential for mortality reduction and watch more television than other age groups. The general problem of inactivity cannot be solved simply by reallocating time to more active pursuits, because daily activity patterns can be heterogeneous or fragmented and activities may be nondiscretionary (e.g., work or childcare).