MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Emmaneul Stamatakis PhD, MSc, BSc
Associate Professor | NHMRC Senior Research Fellow
Charles Perkins Centre, Prevention Research Collaboration
School of Public Health, Sydney Medical School
The University of Sydney
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: We examined the association between participation in different sports and risk of death during subsequent decade in a large sample of >80k adults aged 30 and over who lived in Scotland and England between 2994 and 2008 .
We found the following significant reduction in risk of dying from all causes among participants compared with non-participants: cycling 15%, aerobics 27%, swimming 28%, racquet balls 47%; there was no significant reduction in mortality for running/jogging and football/rugby. We also found the following significant reduction in risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases: aerobics 36%, swimming 41%, racquet balls 56%; there were no significant reduction in mortality for running, cycling and football/rugby. Results in both cases were adjusted for the potential confounders: age, sex, chronic conditions, alcohol drinking and smoking habits, mental health, obesity, education level, doctor-diagnosed CVD, cancer, weekly volume of other physical activity besides the sport (including walking and domestic activity.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Sports participation has a promising potential to benefit health, in particular cycling, swimming, racquet sports and dance for fitness like activities like aerobics. Other sports like running may have great benefits for participants but our study could not detect them because runner were on average much younger than participators in other sports, so we need to check again in 5 years to see if there was an effect of running. Among the 4 most protective groups of exercises, cycling can even be an incidental daily activity, i.e. can be done as part of everyday life to commute to work, do our shopping, etc.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: It appears that different sports affect health outcomes in different ways, and this is not explained by total duration or energy expenditure. It is important that future research also considers the nature and context of activities like sports.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: I would like to flag the public health extensions of our study. We need to put emphasis on sport for all participation (instead of elite sports) and lower barriers to access (e.g. cost, distance to nearest facilities , invest on green open spaces). In particular, ppoliticians and policy makers need to commit serious investments on exercise, sports, and physical activity for better population health.
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
BMJ 2016; 355 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i6435 (Published 30 November 2016)Cite this as: BMJ 2016;355:i6435
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