Total Steps Per Day Linked to Risk of Premature Death Interview with:
Amanda Paluch, PhD
Assistant Professor
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Department of Kinesiology
Institute for Applied Life Sciences
Life Science Laboratories
Amherst, MA 01003 What is the background for this study?

Response: We wanted to understand the association of total steps per day with premature mortality among middle-aged, Black and White women and men.  This study included 2110 adults; age 38-50 years old at the start of this study.  These adults wore a step counting device for one week and then followed for death from any cause over the next 10 years. What are the main findings?

Response: The findings showed that participants taking at least 7,000 steps/day, compared to those taking less than 7,000 steps/day, had a 50 to 70 percent lower risk of mortality.  Accumulating more steps/d was association with an incremental lower risk of mortality until leveling off at approximately 10,000 steps/day.  Our study did not see additional benefit beyond 10,000 steps/day with premature all-cause mortality.  These associations were similar for women, men, Black and White adults. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Our results demonstrated associations of steps/day with mortality across race and sex subgroups. Our study added new evidence in middle-aged adults focusing on deaths occurring earlier than the average life expectancy (also known as premature mortality).

Middle-aged adults who are at low levels of steps can benefit from moving more.  Even small incremental increases in steps/day are associated with a lower mortality risk during middle age. A walking plan that gradually works up toward 7,000-10,000 steps/day may have health benefits and lower the risk of premature mortality. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: This present study offered the opportunity to explore the association of steps with mortality by race and sex. However, more research should be done to explore associations by demographic subgroups in larger studies.

It is important to note that this current study only examined the outcome of all-cause mortality.  Future research should consider the association of steps/day with other outcomes, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and mental health.

No disclosures


Paluch AE, Gabriel KP, Fulton JE, et al. Steps per Day and All-Cause Mortality in Middle-aged Adults in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(9):e2124516. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.24516



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Last Updated on September 7, 2021 by Marie Benz MD FAAD