Physical Activity and Risk of Atrial Fibrillation: A Nationwide Cohort Study in General Population

Moo Nyun Jin, Pil Sung Yang, Changho Song, Hee Tae Yu, Tae Hoon Kim, Jae Sun Uhm, Jung Hoon Sung, Hui Nam Pak, Moon Hyoung Lee, Boyoung Joung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Although exercise prevents cardiovascular disease and mortality, vigorous exercise and endurance athletics can cause atrial fibrillation (AF). However, no large cohort study has assessed the relationship between physical activity and AF in the general population. We assessed the effect of physical activity at different energy expenditures on the incidence of AF. We studied 501,690 individuals without pre-existing AF (mean age, 47.6 ± 14.3 years; 250,664 women [50.0%]) included in the Korean National Health Insurance Service database. The physical activity level was assessed using a standardized self-reported questionnaire at baseline. During a median follow-up of 4 years, 3,443 participants (1,432 women [41.6%]) developed AF. The overall incidence of AF at follow-up was 1.79 per 1,000 person-years. The subjects who met the recommended physical activity level (500–1,000 metabolic equivalent task [MET] minutes/week) had a 12% decreased AF risk (adjusted hazard ratio [HR]: 0.88, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.80–0.97), but not the insufficiently (1–500 MET-minutes/week; HR: 0.94, 95% CI: 0.86–1.03) and highly active subjects (≥1,000 MET-minutes/week; HR: 0.93, 95% CI: 0.85–1.03). The recommended minimum key target range of physical activity level was associated with the maximum benefit for reduced AF risk in the general population. The dose-response relationship between physical activity level and AF risk showed a U-shaped pattern. Although exceeding the key target range attenuated this benefit, it did not increase the AF risk beyond that during inactivity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13270
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Dec 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a research grant from the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology (NRF-2017R1A2B3003303) and grants from the Korean Healthcare Technology R&D project funded by the Ministry of Health & Welfare (HI16C0058 and HI15C1200).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, The Author(s).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Physical Activity and Risk of Atrial Fibrillation: A Nationwide Cohort Study in General Population'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this