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Female and male US Olympic athletes live 5 years longer than their general population counterparts: a study of 8124 former US Olympians

Abstract : Objective: To quantify US female and male Olympic athletes’ longevity and the years of life lost or saved due to multiple causes of death as compared with the US general population.

Methods: Former US athletes who had participated in the summer or winter Olympic Games at least once between 1912 and 2012 were included. Olympians’ date of birth, death and the underlying causes of death were certified by the National Death Index. The Olympians’ overall and cause-specific mortality were compared with the US general population based on the US life tables, adjusted by sex, period and age. Mortality differences between the populations were quantified using the years lost/years saved (YS) method.

Results: 8124 US Olympians (2301 women and 5823 men) lived 5.1 years longer (YS 95% CI 4.3 to 6.0) than the general population, based on 2309 deaths observed (225 women, 2084 men). Different causes of death contributed to longevity for Olympians as follows: 2.2 years were saved (1.9 to 2.5) from cardiovascular diseases (CVDs); cancer, 1.5 years (1.3 to 1.8); respiratory diseases (eg, influenza, pneumonia), 0.8 years (0.7 to 0.9); external causes (eg, accidents, homicides), 0.5 years (0.4 to 0.6); endocrine and metabolic diseases (eg, diabetes, hyperlipidaemia), 0.4 years (0.2 to 0.5) and digestive system diseases (eg, cirrhosis, hepatic failure), 0.3 years (0.2 to 0.4). Mortality rates due to nervous system disorders (eg, Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons’s diseases) and mental illness (eg, dementia, schizophrenia) were not different from the general population.

Conclusion:US Olympians lived longer than the general population, an advantage mainly conferred by lower risks of CVD and cancer. Nervous system disorders and mental illness did not differ between US Olympians and the general population.
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Soumis le : mardi 15 juin 2021 - 16:01:05
Dernière modification le : mardi 6 septembre 2022 - 03:40:41
Archivage à long terme le : : jeudi 16 septembre 2021 - 18:56:33


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Juliana Antero, Hirofumi Tanaka, Quentin de Larochelambert, Maja Pohar-Perme, Jean-François Toussaint. Female and male US Olympic athletes live 5 years longer than their general population counterparts: a study of 8124 former US Olympians. British Journal of Sports Medicine, BMJ Publishing Group, 2021, 55 (4), pp.206-212. ⟨10.1136/bjsports-2019-101696⟩. ⟨hal-03261324⟩



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