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Original Investigation
November 1, 2021

Association of Physical Activity, Including Amount and Maintenance, With All-Cause Mortality in Parkinson Disease

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Korea University Guro Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • 2Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Bundang Jesaeng General Hospital, Gyeonggi-do, Republic of Korea
  • 3Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science, Soongsil University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • 4Department and Research Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
JAMA Neurol. Published online November 1, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2021.3926
Key Points

Question  Is physical activity associated with all-cause mortality in individuals with Parkinson disease (PD)?

Findings  In this nationwide population-based cohort study of 10 699 individuals with PD, all physical activity intensities were associated with reduced all-cause mortality, with an inverse dose-response association between the total amount of physical activity and mortality. Participants who performed physical activity before and after the PD diagnosis had the lowest mortality risk.

Meaning  In this analysis, physical activity and all-cause mortality had a dose-response association in individuals with PD; although reverse causality might exist, modifications to increase and maintain physical activity may be beneficial for reducing mortality in PD.


Importance  The protective effects of physical activity (PA) against Parkinson disease (PD) development have been suggested; however, the association of PA with mortality in PD has rarely been investigated.

Objective  To evaluate the association between PA and mortality in individuals with PD and determine how the amount and maintenance of PA are associated with mortality.

Design, Setting, and Participants  This nationwide population-based cohort study used Korean National Health Insurance System data. Participants were included from January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2013, and were followed up until December 31, 2017. Data were analyzed from September 2020 to March 2021. Individuals who were newly diagnosed with PD were selected using the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision code G20 and registration code V124 in the program for rare intractable diseases in 2010 through 2013. Individuals who underwent health checkups within 2 years before and after the PD diagnosis were enrolled. Those aged younger than 40 years or with missing data were excluded.

Exposures  Physical activity levels were collected using self-reported questionnaires.

Main Outcomes and Measures  All-cause mortality.

Results  A total of 45 923 individuals were identified; 10 987 were enrolled, and 34 individuals younger than 40 years and 254 with missing data were excluded. A total of 10 699 individuals with PD were included; 4925 (46%) were male and 5774 (54%) were female, and the mean (SD) age was 69.2 (8.8) years. During the 8-year follow-up period, there were 1823 deaths (17%). The mortality rate was lower among individuals who were physically active vs inactive at all PA intensities (vigorous: hazard ratio [HR], 0.80 [95% CI, 0.69-0.93]; moderate: HR, 0.66 [95% CI, 0.55-0.78]; light: HR, 0.81 [95% CI, 0.73-0.90]). There was a significant inverse dose-response association between the total amount of PA and mortality (HRs: vigorous, 0.80 [95% CI, 0.69-0.93]; moderate, 0.66 [95% CI, 0.55-0.78]; light, 0.81 [95% CI, 0.73-0.90]; P < .001). Moreover, maintenance of PA was associated with the mortality rate. Individuals with PD who were physically active both before and after the PD diagnosis had the greatest reduction in mortality rate across all PA intensities (HRs: vigorous, 0.66 [95% CI, 0.50-0.88]; moderate, 0.49 [95% CI, 0.32-0.75]; light, 0.76 [95% CI, 0.66-0.89]). Individuals who started PA after receiving the PD diagnosis had a lower mortality rate than those who remained physically inactive (HRs: vigorous, 0.82 [95% CI, 0.70-0.97]; moderate, 0.69 [95% CI, 0.57-0.83]; light, 0.86 [95% CI, 0.78-0.98]).

Conclusions and Relevance  This analysis found a dose-response association between PA and all-cause mortality in PD. Reverse causality may exist, and future prospective randomized clinical trials are warranted to determine the effect of PA on mortality in PD.

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