Number of Daily Steps Linked to Mortality Risk

Ellen Scharaga, a skilled pharmacy operations professional with more than three decades of experience, helps Alegria Specialty Pharmacy in developing and delivering specialty medication for the management of chronic conditions. Outside of work, Ellen Scharaga supports several medicine-based charitable organizations, including the American Cancer Society.

As part of its work to rid the world of cancer, the American Cancer Society regularly supports patients, disseminates information from experts, and funds and conducts research. Recently, the organization shared the results of an observational study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health. These results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in March 2020.

While the medical community already knew that physical activity was important, the current study looked at the specific amount of steps a person took every day. These steps were then correlated with reduced mortality risk. To gather the necessary data, researchers looked at more than 4,500 adults in American aged 40 and older. These individuals all wore step tracking devices for seven days between 2003 and 2006. Using the National Death Index, researchers then followed up with mortality rates among participants in 2015.

Based on the results, adults could reduce their risk of death from any cause by 51 percent if they took 8,000 steps a day instead of just 4,000. This reduction in risk increased with the more steps someone took each day. At 12,000 steps, the mortality risk was 65 percent lower when compared to adults who took 4,000 steps. Researchers also examined the intensity of walking, but they found no significant difference in mortality risk based on how quickly people walked.