Examining non-linear associations between accelerometer-measured physical activity, sedentary behavior, and all-cause mortality using segmented cox regression

Hong Lee

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Healthy adults are advised to perform at least 150 min of moderate-intensity physical activity weekly, but this advice is based on studies using self-reports of questionable validity. This study examined the dose-response relationship of accelerometer-measured physical activity and sedentary behaviors on all-cause mortality using segmented Cox regression to empirically determine the break-points of the dose-response relationship. Data from 7006 adult participants aged 18 or above in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey waves 2003-2004 and 2005-2006 were included in the analysis and linked with death certificate data using a probabilistic matching approach in the National Death Index through December 31, 2011. Physical activity and sedentary behavior were measured using ActiGraph model 7164 accelerometer over the right hip for 7 consecutive days. Each minute with accelerometer count <100; 1952-5724; and >= 5725 were classified as sedentary, moderate-intensity physical activity, and vigorous-intensity physical activity, respectively. Segmented Cox regression was used to estimate the hazard ratio (HR) of time spent in sedentary behaviors, moderate-intensity physical activity, and vigorous-intensity physical activity and all-cause mortality, adjusted for demographic characteristics, health behaviors, and health conditions. Data were analyzed in 2016. During 47,119 person-year of follow-up, 608 deaths occurred. Each additional hour per day of sedentary behaviors was associated with a HR of 1.15 (95% CI 1.01, 1.31) among participants who spend at least 10.9 h per day on sedentary behaviors, and each additional minute per day spent on moderate-intensity physical activity was associated with a HR of 0.94 (95% CI 0.91, 0.96) among participants with daily moderate-intensity physical activity >= 14.1 min. Associations of moderate physical activity and sedentary behaviors on all-cause mortality were independent of each other. To conclude, evidence from this study supported at least 15 min per day of moderate-intensity physical activity and no more than 10.9 h per day of sedentary behaviors as recommendations to reduce all-cause mortality.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Dose-response relationship
  • Exercise
  • Public health
  • Restricted cubic spline
  • Sitting
  • Survival analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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